Driving is a serious matter with potentially dangerous consequences, and our life in this world is no different. When driving a vehicle, the failure to constantly make those little necessary corrections might result in you drifting into the wrong lane of traffic. And you may get away with driving into the other lane for a while, but eventually it’ll catch up with you and you’ll have a wreck. This will not only impact you; it will also impact someone else’s life. If you’re driving and you have a wreck with another vehicle, it may be more than yourself that is affected. You may severely injure or kill someone else. You could also hurt someone close to you (for example, if a family member or a friend is in the car with you).
By comparison, our “spiritual wrecks” in this life can severely impact our life, the lives of our loved ones, and the lives of strangers. Though our sins are forgiven eternally, often there are consequences to sin that we have to live with here in time—consequences that we may never be able to change. Just as a wreck while driving may result in a fatality or serious injury, our spiritual wrecks may impact our life and the lives of others for years or even decades.
Sometimes mistakes happen and traffic accidents are not our fault; but often they can be avoided by drivers taking heed to themselves and practicing defensive driving. We are constantly warned about how texting, talking on the phone, or playing with our iPod while driving will distract us and cause an accident. And how many spiritual wrecks in this life could be avoided if God’s children were taking heed to themselves, putting on the whole armor of God, and practicing “defensive living” by not setting their affection on things on this earth?
Some scriptures for consideration:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…” – I Peter 5:8“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” – I Thessalonians 5:5-6
Your spiritual problems can affect others in ways you may not imagine. You may sometimes feel that no one cares or you may feel that you are “less than the least of all saints”, but all the while there is someone looking up to you. Mr. Gene Currie, an influential teacher in my life, taught me this important lesson when I was a freshman in high school. Follow me as I share this brief story.
Mr. Currie reminded us that the year before (8th grade), we were the “big kids on campus” at the junior high school. We perhaps felt important at that time. Mr. Currie basically said, “But just think, even though you felt important in junior high, you were looking up to the high school kids” (even the freshman). And Mr. Currie was right. When we were in junior high, we looked up to the high school kids and emulated their behavior. Mr. Currie pointed out to us that because we were now in high school, the junior high kids were looking up to us even though we felt like we were on the bottom rung in the ladder of life. Lesson: there is always somebody looking up to you even when you’re feeling low.
The lesson that someone is always looking up to us should make us feel a sense of responsibility, just as we have a great responsibility when driving. And sometimes we don’t want this responsibility. You may be thinking, “But I have so many problems in my life to deal with. I can’t be constantly worried about what other people think of me!” Well, I agree. First thing’s first. Deal with the major problems in life as your first priority. There’s the old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It may take baby steps. But to completely dismiss the idea that we shouldn’t be concerned with what other people think of us is to be irresponsible and go against scripture. There are multitudes of scriptures which teach us that we have a responsibility in how we conduct ourselves before our brethren and sisters. Some examples:
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” – I Thessalonians 5:22“A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1
We have a responsibility to be shining lights in this dark world. The Lord Jesus Christ told us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
The Apostle Paul taught us a great lesson when he said, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” – I Corinthians 8:13. The entire chapter of I Corinthians 8 is fascinating. But the primary lesson I draw from it is that we are to prefer others before ourself, even if it means we have to give up something we love.
When we prefer others before ourself, we help them along the roadway of life. The holy scriptures tell us, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it;” – Proverbs 3:27. When you see a person having car trouble on the side of the road, you stop and help them. And sometimes your car is broken down and you need someone to stop and help you.
My brothers and sisters, many spiritual wrecks in this world can be avoided by taking heed, being sober, and watching closely. But when those problems in life do occur, let us be there to provide “first aid” to our brothers and sisters in need. We may need them to be there for us someday. Let us be like the good Samaritan who had compassion, for without God’s grace we would all be in an unthinkably worse condition.
Praise be to Him in all things!