When I first moved to California, I was introduced to the “joys” of driving on the freeway, because my work was about 45 minutes one way from where we lived. During that time of commuting, I learned some valuable lessons about the Christian walk. Just like “walking” communicated to the people of Jesus Christ’s day as an idiom of how to live life, so “driving on the freeway of life” helped to teach me about walking by the spirit today. Galatians 5:16ff is an exhortation to “walk in the Spirit” and compares the spiritual walk to the walk of the flesh. The following writing is a consideration of the types of drivers one finds on the freeway. Just as the signs ask when one follows a truck or van of a certain company, we can ask ourselves: “How’s my driving?”
The first kind of driver that I noticed was one that I started out as. I call him “the Gripper”. He is very afraid of all the cars and the swiftness of the freeway, so he grips the wheel and is hunched forward over the steering wheel, determined that he will make it to his destination, even though he’s scared to pieces! He very SLOWLY gets on the entrance ramp to the freeway at about 40 miles an hour and goes in the right hand lane, oh never going above 55!! He stays there despite the flow of traffic and how many people are entering onto the freeway. He is a frustration (the stereotype of “the Sunday driver”) to all that are coming on the freeway, because other drivers have to move around him in order to get in the flow of traffic.
The lesson has to do with trusting in the power of your car and moving in with the flow of life. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) The power of God in our life (holy spirit) and God’s love helps to free us from fear, so that we can make sound decisions and stop gripping so tightly to the wheel! Once a person gets used to driving on the freeway, he can relax and be peaceful (Romans 5:1). Then as situations change on the freeway, he can adjust lanes gradually and adapt to the flow of traffic. There is a temptation when driving on the freeway to get in a lane and then be determined to stay there. That stubbornness leads one to having to deal with running into an accident (that happens to be in that lane!!) or general frustration because every other lane is traveling at the normal pace and you are sitting in traffic! Don’t be a determined stubborn Gripper – relax, trust in the power of the holy spirit and know that you can adjust and change lanes at any time to flow with the traffic pattern.
The second kind of driver I call “the Weaver”. What lane should I be in? Some people always think that the next lane over must be better than what they are in. So they weave from one to another, always trying very hard to get to their destination the fastest possible. They are never satisfied with the traffic flow where they are. Once a driver has chosen a lane to be in on the freeway, and then all of a sudden the traffic grinds to a halt, the temptation is to try to change lanes right away. In the application with the walk of life by the spirit, the lesson is to stay peaceful until there is a need to change lanes. “The wisdom of God is pure, peaceable…full of good fruits. (James 3:16). Develop patience in traffic: turn on a praise tape, sit back, adapt as necessary, but enjoy your fellowship with the Father, in the midst of pressure.
The third kind of driver “the Speeder.” He is always going very fast up to ride the bumper of the car ahead and then slamming on his brakes to keep from hitting that car. Fast, slow, fast, slow, always impatient that he is not getting anywhere fast. This is especially annoying in traffic for those behind, because seeing the red lights of the brakes is an indication that he too should put on his brakes to adjust to the traffic. Others around try to compensate for the erratic driving of that car, by staying far enough away that the variation of speed is not a bother. The Speeder needs to “watch and pray” and stop thinking only of himself. Be concerned about the things of others (Philippians 2:3) and try to blend in to be the most blessing to those around. He will get to where he is going just as everyone else will.
Then there are the “Rubberneckers.” They are always gazing and gawking at everyone and everything going on and so cause bottlenecks and at the worst, accidents. To walk by the spirit, we need to “forget those things are behind [or to the side] and reach forth to those things before” (Philippians 3:13). We have a goal in front of us and a pathway to follow to live out in our lives. There is no need to gawk, point fingers and or worse, compare ourselves to what else is going on in the traffic. “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 3:14,15). Follow the roadmap of the scriptures and press on for the “prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.
The last category of drivers, I call “the Sigher.” Especially in standstill traffic, he is bored and mostly oblivious to everything around him. He is frustrated, but expresses his frustration by not caring at all about anything. He is resigned to the fact that “this is the way it is” and just sighs out of that resignation. No matter how fast or how slow we end up driving on the freeway of life, there is never time to be oblivious to those around. Be aware of others in the body of Christ who are walking by the spirit and learn from them. Observe and learn by watching others who are always “driving” what are the best keys to living. Realize that all in the body of Christ are moving toward the same goal. That certainly can never be boring!! Also we need to understand that it just takes a certain amount of time to get from point A to point B. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15,16). Even when it does not seem that we are getting anywhere, we can always pray. We never need to only “put up” with the frustrations of life.
“How’s my driving?” If I had that on a bumper sticker on my car, I would like for the observation to be that I was driving smoothly, flowing with traffic, had a lot of patience, was regarding others on the way and always aware of what was going on.