In many parts of the country today, driving a car has taken on the feel of a battle between drivers. Try as you may to display safe and courteous behavior on the roads, sooner or later someone comes bobbing and weaving along haphazardly, threatening everyone’s safety. When you glance their way in disbelief, you’re greeted with an unwelcome hand gesture, or even rage.
I can recall the days when this sort of behavior was unthinkable by most people. If someone acted in an unbecoming manner, they did not treat others as if they had been wronged somehow. Clearly, there has been a change among many on the roads today. A change that has led some to feel like the shortest of drives can be an unwelcome battle.
How is it that the once friendly roads have deteriorated so much in such a short time? There are no simple answers to this question, but one can point to several contributing factors that have helped shape the digression.
Man, by nature, is a self-centered creature who, left to himself, gravitates toward a “me first” mentality. As our Creator, God has created and blessed us with a conscience to help regulate this imbalance. Likewise, for those who have embraced Him as Lord and Savior, He provides them with the Holy Spirit to guide them and the Bible to teach and direct.
The United States was founded by those who embraced the God of the Bible. As a natural outgrowth of their beliefs, they sought to establish a nation based on biblical teachings and principles. There were some who did not fully embrace the teachings of God’s Word, but for the most part, the young nation had a Christ-centric flavor to it.
As time has passed, the emphasis on preserving and practicing the biblical principles the nation was founded on, has dissipated. The clearest evidence of this can be seen in how we treat one another. Neighbor-to-neighbor, worker-to-worker, driver-to-driver, the way we treat one another has deteriorated greatly over the past forty or so years. Why? Because the more we turn from God and His Word, the more we replace it with self and the influence of others.
This slow turn from God ought not to surprise us, as the Bible teaches us in Genesis 3, that even under perfect circumstances, such as those seen in the Garden, man is prone to wonder from God and His guidance.
In the book of Revelation 2:4, God says to the church of Ephesus, “you have left your first love.” Many believe that Christ ascended a mere 36 to 62 years from the point in which these words were expressed. If that is true, then the church of Ephesus was still a very young church in terms of its existence, and, yet, it has already departed its “first love.” Who was its first love? The Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
How is it possible, given that men like the apostle Paul, Apollos and others played a key role in the church’s development (Acts 18)? One might ask the same question regarding Israel and the exodus. God’s presence was with them every step of the way, yet they longed to turn from God and return to the land of their enslavement, Egypt.
In Psalm 139:1-3, David said, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.” When we forget these truths, we set ourselves up for a self-centeredness that encourages us to believe we are “free agents”, with no accountability to a higher power for our thoughts, words and actions; the byproduct being the wrongful treatment of others.
This sort of lie kept Israel wandering in the wilderness for forty years, and it encouraged them to call on God for an earthly king, rather than continuing to embrace His leadership. It likewise caused the church of Ephesus to leave its “first love.”
This departure from a God-centered faith serves to remind us that the doctrinal aspects of faith in Christ are something that can be taught, but not inherited. Every generation must embrace the faith as its own, one person at a time. Anything more or less is not true faith, but merely a religious imitation. Many who claim a relationship with Christ have embraced nothing more than a version of the truth, and this false imitation has led us to the place we find ourselves as a nation and society.
Sadly, far too many are so blinded by a sense of false security. Just as those aboard the Titanic believed they too were safe, the irreversible outcome bears witness to the depth of their spiritual stupidity. What is the solution? Revelation 2:5 says, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works.” Remember. Remember what? Remember, “where you have fallen.” In other words, remember your starting point. Remember the true truth, and true faith you once embraced, and turn from the false imitation that has found its way into your life.
How? Humble yourself before the Lord and turn from a life of self-centeredness, a life of self-guidance, a life of following the foolish crowd. Turn to God and His Word, embrace and follow.
Teach, share and pray for others, but make certain to allow them space to either truly embrace or reject God and His Word. Why? Because you cannot save anyone, and the worse thing you can do, on behalf of another, is to convince them to embrace a relationship with God that exists only in their head and not in their heart. There is only one Holy Spirit, and you are not it.
Just as those driving cars may feel like road warriors, people of faith may feel likewise. It’s not easy being a true Christian. Try as you may to display a balanced life on the road to glory, sooner or later someone comes bobbing and weaving along haphazardly. When you glance their way with your Christ-centered life, sadly you are greeted with an unwelcome hand gesture, or even rage.
As you strive to walk the walk, and be a useful tool for the glory of God, remember Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called.”
When being a “road warrior” seems to be wearing you down, and the starch has been taken out of you, remember this is what you have been called to, by the grace of God. The daily drive may be wearing on you, but remember that it leads to the most wonderful of gifts, eternal life with our Lord and Savior. Fight the good fight. Drive the good drive, and let’s all get there safely together.