Defensive Driving


Defensive Driving

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14

    I have been driving for over 30 years, but there are two things I still recall about driver’s education class. First, the girl next to me tried to cheat by trying to copy off my test. She was probably disgusted with me for telling her not to do that. Second, the teacher taught us “defensive driving.” I was taught to keep my foot over the brake much of the time instead of the gas pedal so that I would always be on guard for a potential accident and could quickly mash down my foot and hit the brake. All these years later, when I sensed the Spirit of God wanted me to take my foot off the brake, I knew He wasn’t referring to my car. He was referring to something else in my life, and I sensed He wanted me to share the message with others who might need to hear it.

In the area of my life to which the Holy Spirit was referring, I was so afraid of having an “accident,” of messing up and not doing something perfectly let alone well enough, of not pleasing God, of not “succeeding” in the grand scheme of things in His eyes, and was so not trusting Him to lead me down this particular roadway without crashing and not truly trusting Him to love and forgive me if I fell short in moving ahead, that I was “defensive driving.” I was holding my foot over the brake and resisting moving forward more than inches at a time.

The Lord had been lovingly, gently coaxing me to move forward despite the risks I felt I faced, but I had been inching forward only ever so slightly, every once in a while daringly stepping on the gas pedal, some anyway, but mostly not, my foot constantly sliding back over to hover over the brake where I felt “safe.” Clearly God wanted me to lovingly, trustingly, follow His Holy Spirit forward, but how could I do this when I was constantly in “defensive driving” mode? How could I really trust and obey God, and truly honor Him in this area of my life, with my foot constantly hanging over the brake ready to “hit the brakes”? I was too full of fear to keep my foot steadily on the gas pedal. God wasn’t standing over me with a sledgehammer ready to beat me down if I moved ahead and messed up along the way. He was lovingly encouraging me forward, reminding me He is a merciful, forgiving God who would be right by my side as I learned to keep my foot on the gas pedal and truly move forward with His Spirit leading the way to where He was so tenderly calling me.

How many of us, I wonder, have heard from God about something He wants us to do but are in “defensive driving” mode rather than trusting His Spirit to lead the way forward in love and obedience to Him? It’s time to move our foot to the gas pedal and to drive ahead with Him, isn’t it?

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