Monday, April 18, 2016

Heeding the road signs

Forgive me while I brag for a moment. I'm a good driver. Never-mind that one little run in with the college campus security guard. I can blame icy road conditions, right? And, besides, that was nearly eight years ago! My record has been spotless ever since. So, aside from that one brief mishap behind the wheel my driving is stellar. No speeding tickets. No accidents. I attribute my driving success to heeding the road signs and being gentle on my brakes (thanks be to my Dad for that valuable, and cost-saving, driving lesson). 
The road signs are my guide, alerting me to changes in the traffic patterns, varying speed limits and one-way streets. When traveling I make great time by avoiding "Dead End" and "No Outlet" streets. I'm intentional about which highway direction I choose in order to avoid going north when I should be traveling south. I'm especially attune to "Speed Strictly Enforced" signs and always on the look out for sneaky cop cars hidden in the brush. 
Now that I've bragged about my abilities behind the wheel of my car let me tell you that I'm not as confident about my driving when I get behind the wheel of my life. The signs are all there. God has laid them out in His Word yet I seem to completely ignore some of the biggest, most helpful of the warnings. 
Take, for example, "Forgive one another" and "Don't hate your brother - or your sister, or your enemy." God has tried to impress the right road on me by putting it in other terms such as "Love one another." God has even put the sign in big, bright red letters with a flashing border, "If you don't love other people I know you don't actually love me!" 
And yet I've traveled down roads such as, "Holding A Grudge," "Unforgiving," and "Resentful." Every one of these roads has been a no outlet, a complete dead end. I've wandered down their well-worn path, ignoring every notice directing me to choose a different route, and ended up going in circles with no way out. After wasting gas and time I've ended up back at that original road, faced with the decision to exit back out onto the road of grace and mercy, away from the impassable road of hard hearted hatred. 
God gave me the warnings of the dangers of hate and malice because He knows they won't lead to a place of beauty and peace. Holding a grudge and stewing in resentment will only produce frustration. Like driving down a dead end road, feelings rooted in hatred never lead anywhere worthwhile. 
Thankfully I have all I need to be just as skilled behind the wheel of life as I do behind the wheel of a car. God has created flawless signage and posted it in clear view. He hasn't made the directions complicated. They are really quite simple: love one another. That command is easier to understand than a Chevron sign. The challenge isn't understanding the meaning in the notices, it's heeding he warnings and following the directions.
In the end I'll always end up at the right destination if I follow God's signs, avoid the dead ends and go the right way on His highways. Frustration and endless circling about can be avoided if only I will stay alert and remain on God's route. His ways are good, clear, and pleasant. God's road always leads to peace and is always filled with grace. If I drive in accordance with God's Word I am sure to always have an impeccable record. 

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