Posted in Christian Living

How to Keep the New Car Smell of Revival

It’s been a couple months since my husband purchased his new truck. Sure the blue exterior is nice, but my favorite part is the new car smell inside.

Yes, it’s still there. But soon enough it will fade.

What’s strange is I never notice the luscious scent lessening. I inhale it with vigor every time I ride in the truck.

But one day, it will be gone.

Spiritual revival happens the same way. It’s burning bright until one day you wake up and the coals have cooled completely.

Why can’t we keep the new car smell forever? Why doesn’t a revived spiritual state have more staying power?

Artificial Scents

You know those car freshener trees? Yes, the ones with a scent so strong you have to peel the protective paper away a centimeter at a time.

They have one called “New Car Smell.”

But it’s not the same. It’s like spraying Ocean Breeze Febreeze in your bathroom. Sure, it smells like the beach for a few minutes, but the next time you enter the small space, you won’t notice it.

Sometimes we spray a little artificial revival in our services. Singing is louder. Participation spikes. The messages from pastor and teacher stimulate our ears and minds.

If the Holy Spirit is bringing it, that’s the real thing. When we parade it around in the name of being revived, it offers the same sort of temporary whiff as the car freshener.

In order for revival to stick around, we have to stay authentic. We need to bathe our lives and services in prayer. Our hearts must embrace the moving of the Spirit.

In short, there’s nothing we can DO. We must submit to the power of God’s Spirit. Only then will the sweet scent of revival have staying power.

Return of Routine

My husband will stop noticing the new car fragrance of his truck before I do. Because he’s exposed to it every day on his commute to and from work.

The delicious aroma becomes part of his daily grind. And so it loses its potency in his nose.

In the realm of spiritual revival, this is the equivalent of returning to our daily routines. When we felt the renewal bursting through our heart and mind, we’d been attending daily prayer meetings. Or nightly preaching services.

The Word of God became our daily banqueting table. We read it, studied it and meditated on it. And in its pages we caught a glimpse of our Savior.

Revival is a fresh glimpse of Jesus – Pastor Travis Lane


Our return to the rut of our daily lives dulls our spiritual eyesight. Suddenly, things aren’t so fresh and new. Life returns to the same old, same old.

It happens gradually, so we hardly notice the departure of the joyful spiritual renewal. And because we don’t see it slipping away, we do nothing to hold it in place.

Humanity at its Finest

The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak – Matthew 26:41

Since the fall, our physical nature has become the dominant side of our personality. We notice the growl of an empty stomach long before we would hear the cry of our empty spirit.

Think about it. How long do you go between meals? Maybe you aren’t a fan of breakfast but eat a late dinner. You might go from 8PM to noon without eating anything. What’s that? Sixteen hours?

How long is it between your Bible reading sessions? More than 16 hours for me since I have my daily quiet time at approximately the same time each day.

And how often is my time with God’s Word more like a snack than a meal? Yeah, I’m not going to answer that. Lord knows I feed my flesh much bigger portions than my spirit can expect on a daily basis.

This is why we can’t stay revived. The effort of feeding our spirit is easily shuffled away in the course of doing our job, keeping our home, caring for our family and chasing our hobbies.

If we want the new smell of revival to stick around, we’ll need to maintain our focus on spiritual things.

No organized prayer meetings? How about keeping that time slot dedicated to closet prayer? Extra preaching services have ended, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use the time invested in those to listen to an online sermon or engage in personal Bible study (not reading but actual study).

Don’t give the time you set aside for God back to the flesh. Dedicate it to Him.

Since the Holy Spirit is the one who brings revival in the first place, He’s the only one who can keep the sweet scent of renewal strong in our hearts and lives.

The new car smell won’t last forever. The fragrance of a revival? If it fades, we can get it back.



Freelance writer and editor whose background in education and BA in English Language & Literature amps her love of all things books. Twenty years of parenting and 26 of marriage gives unique insight to her preferred audiences of women, young adults, and teenagers.

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