Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?

City Police Car

You’ve pulled over to the side of the road, with red and blue lights flashing glaringly into your rearview mirror as you have stopped.  An office walks up as you roll down your window and hear him ask you, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Even when you are certain you have not done anything wrong, that question can be unsettling at best.  It frequently is followed up by “Do you know how fast you were traveling?” Most of the time, we don’t know how fast we really were traveling when the officer measured our speed. 

In Romans 13:1 (NKJV), Paul writes.  “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”  The Bible gives a clear admonition that we are to follow the laws given by those appointed over us. 

Years ago, I was convicted that if I didn’t drive at the speed limit, I couldn’t say that I was following the Lord as I was not obeying the law set by man.  I recently was driving right at the speed limit of 35 MPH as displayed on my car’s speedometer.  Yet when I passed a speed check readout by the side of the road, it displayed 34 MPH.  But this measured my speed at an angle, so I wondered which one is right.  The next time I drove by with the same scenario, I had a GPS App on my phone measuring, and it gave my speed as 34 MPH.  It takes the distance traveled as referenced by an absolute source, compared to the time it took to travel that distance measured from timestamped data to arrive at its speed.  It is in essence an objective, exterior measure of my actual speed.  My personal reference, the speedometer in my car, is wrong even though I have depended on it.  Without the benefit of an external reference, I would never have known if I was really driving at the speed limit or not.

This scenario parallels the circumstances we face as we navigate the daily choices in our life: what is our reference for the choices we make.  For most it usually is based on what we think, or what we feel is right.  We might even consider what others believe is right, such as our parents or family in our thoughts.  But both are subject to the filters of our own experience, fears, and desires which are fickle at best and misleading at worst. 

There really is only one objective standard for what is right, that has remained constant through time and culture. That standard is the only one that comes from an external, objective source, and that is God’s word, the Bible.  And while some may argue the point, no one has been able to prove that anything in the Bible is wrong. It is the most historically, geologically, and archaeologically validated book ever written. In it, we find instructions on how to live life in a way that is best for us, and for others.  In many ways it is contrary to our culture, current societal whims, and most likely our own desires. 

And so as one chooses to follow the Lord, they will find that they are led to live differently than they have in the past, and to live differently than their friends around them. This will invariably cause tension and even separation from people they love. And yet as they do, they will find that they have newfound freedom from old habits, addictions, and unhealthy choices. This new direction will likely initially be contrary to what feels good to us, and we will be tempted to return to the old ways which will lead back to the old habits, addictions and bondage to limits of our choices.

Yet, the follower of the Lord Jesus Christ is not alone in these struggles for they have the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide, sustain, and protect them in this new life. We learn that we are not random accidents of evolution, but unique people created with purpose that will be revealed as we walk with the Lord.

Reflecting on the example of the speed at which we are traveling, do we go with the flow of least resistance and what feels right to us, or do we look at the book written by our Creator giving us guidance as to how to live our best life even if that may be more difficult at the beginning. As simple as this parallel is, the real question is where our heart is: is it with doing what we know is right from God, or what feels good individually and what everyone else is doing?

The answer to that question has eternal ramifications. How do you answer it?

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