Monday, August 2, 2010

Pulling the Leash Tight...

I was walking my dog the other day and Max kept on stretching the leash taught, extremely taught, to the point that he was literally choking himself. I kept pulling him back and asking him, “Why do you do that? Doesn’t it hurt when you choke yourself? Why would you do that when you can walk right here next to me and NOT hurt yourself!?”

The next morning I was driving to work and I accelerated to 70 MPH and hit the cruise control. The second I hit “set”, I passed a speed limit sign…65 MPH. Almost immediately I heard my own words to the dog the day before, “Why do you do that?” I saw in my minds eye the dog stretching out the leash, and then I saw a police car about a ¼ mile in front of me. I touched the brake pedal to release the cruise and then I heard that still small voice… “You KNOW the speed limit is 65, you drive this route EVERY DAY. You KNOW you will only gain a few seconds in your drive to work, yet you CHOOSE to break the law.” As I passed the police car, lights came on and my heart skipped a beat, “Surely he is not going to pull ME over, I wasn’t speeding THAT much…”

By the grace of God, he wasn’t after me, he was after the guy who was passing me while I was speeding. But the experience brought something to light for me. I give my dog freedom the length of his leash. God gives us all the freedom we want. He doesn’t like to see us leave his side, but he won’t stop us if we choose to do so. He will call out to us, he will send people to point out the err of our ways, but he will not stop us from making bad choices. However, He ALWAYS provides us with enough knowledge to make the right choice.

For me, the right choice is to set the cruise at 65 MPH. And I MUST use cruise control because everyone else is moving quicker and it is far too easy to just “keep up with traffic”.

I found it interesting that the following day I overheard two Christian friends of mine discussing the issue of speeding on the highway… One posed the argument that it was unsafe to travel at 65 MPH when everyone around you is doing 70. He was rationalizing his sin. AND he was using the safety of his family as his justification for doing so, even though he ignored the other side of the argument that it is easier to lose control at 70 vs. 65, and the results of an accident at 70 vs 65 will be more severe, etc. Another Christian brother commented that “God hasn’t convicted me of speeding. When I feel God telling me to stop, I will.”

I immediately realized that God was definitely convicting me in the area of my speed on the highways, but after realizing that, I am now asking myself, “Why?” I know speeding is wrong, so why did it take a conviction from God to get me to do something about it? And in how many other areas of my life am I living on the edge? Sinning “a little bit” because “I can get away with it”?

God help me to see those areas of my life where I am not walking immediately by your side. Help me to see where else I have ventured away from your standard and justified my actions in some way that is really no justification at all…

Until His plan for me is complete…
Paul