I live just outside Denver, Colorado, and commute into the city for work. Over the past two years, I’ve noticed certain patterns in traffic flow. One of the four lanes available to me is the one that gets me to work in fifteen short minutes. In the “right lane,” the journey is consistent, a proven path.
Now and then, my “right lane” appears to slow, and I am tempted to move into the adjacent lane. If I do, inevitably, it seems the car that was behind me rolls right past as the “right lane” picks up speed. I imagine the driver of that car shaking his head as if to say, “You know this road—you should have stayed in the correct lane!”
The parallels to our spiritual journey are numerous. When you get in the wrong lane and try to pull back into the right one, those gaps between cars shut down. Some people have missed their exit simply because they were in the wrong lane.
Spiritually speaking, Satan wants us to think that we have no control over our lane—that God’s Spirit within us cannot give us aid. But God has given us the ability to choose our lane, and His Spirit empowers us to stay on the right path. From then on, we are responsible for that choice.
So how do we stay in the right spiritual lane?
First, we must exercise the use of God’s Spirit to be our spiritual and moral compass. “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps,” Jeremiah 10:23, NKJV. We cannot know our own hearts and minds. We need regular contact with God’s Word and daily help from the Eternal and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Secondly, stay close to God through regular use of the four spiritual tools of prayer, Bible study, fasting, and meditation. Through these, we can visualize ourselves consistently doing the right thing.
Finally, we need to exercise integrity in the moment of choice. Most of us have traveled this road a long time. We know we’re being challenged to change lanes. It might look better in that other lane for a short period of time—but it’s not!
To those less experienced on this road: spend some time with our seasoned travelers. When we learn to drive, we receive a lot of advice from the voice of experience, so too in the church community. Ask questions, observe examples. Seasoned travelers aren’t perfect, but they have learned how to correct themselves. They know the potholes and detours and have wisdom and experience to offer.
We all might get temporarily off in the wrong lane, but Christ was tested as we are. He is our advocate and has never sinned. He will let us back in the right lane upon repentance. We have to keep alert and sharp, the right lane isn’t as wide as the others, and the entry gate is narrow (Matthew 7:13-14). Very few make it through to the end.
Will we be part of that few? God has given us His Spirit and with it wisdom and knowledge that the rest of the world does not have. God’s way is reliable, certain, verifiable. Let’s use God’s Word and His Spirit to stay in the right lane! With His help and through the God family in training, our Church community, we won’t miss the exit!
by Ken Parks