Gilland: Enjoying that new car smell

Girls in car

I love the experience of sliding into the seat of a brand-new car and having the immediate sensory overload that comes from being immersed with that “new car smell.” 

I don’t remember how old I was when I first encountered this phenomenon, but it seems like I have felt that way for my entire life. Who would believe that the mere act of getting into the seat of an automobile would bring about such a level of “ooohs” and “ahhhs.” 

As proof to the global nature of this most desired fragrance, manufacturers have long attempted to replicate this experience in the form of hanging diffusers and aromatic spray bottles. But nothing I’ve seen has ever hit the mark.

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Several years ago, my wife and I bought a used car that had extremely low miles, was in showroom shape, and, yes, it even had that new car smell. I was completely overjoyed and proud to be the owner of this vehicle and its amazing aroma. 

We kept this car in the garage, worked as hard as we could to keep it looking clean and nice, and maintained it regularly.

With all of that effort, and against every desire in my heart, that new car smell slowly faded away, no longer greeting my nostrils when I would get in. And, those low miles on the odometer? Well, they were joined by many more miles. 

Try as we may, we just can’t keep life from happening to our cars. If we are going to use them, they are going to age—just like we do.

This is why that we must be careful to not make idols out of our cars, our houses, our toys, our sports, or even our careers. There may be aspects of those possessions or activities that are truly enjoyable, giving us those “smile” factors that we really enjoy. But they will never be able to ultimately satisfy our souls. 

Life happens, and we discover just how temporal that pleasure was. And more importantly, the Bible teaches us to not make idols at all, to not treasure any object or image above our love and esteem for the Lord. 

I still enjoy that “new car smell,” but I am also aware that it is a fleeting pleasure, one that won’t last. And no matter how hard we try, it can’t be sustained. How good it is to know that our relationship with God is not like that. 

Hebrews 13:8 says this: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 

For believers in Jesus, the goodness of God is ours to keep, never fading away.

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