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An Illustration: How’s My Driving?

10/26/2011

I bike a few miles to work everyday. Besides the nice little bit of exercise that it is, I also get to enjoy the busyness that is West L.A. as I ride through two conjoined neighborhoods each day. Not a ride goes by where I don’t see something amusing- whether it be a veterinarian trying futilely to walk a dog or an early morning yoga-cise group full of guys huddled together in the cold.

A few days ago, it was a big white van. As I rode down the last side street to work, I saw it taking a u-turn out of the corner of my eye. Then, in all 7AM hilarity (things are much funnier at 7AM), it completely missed the driveway it was attempting to pull into.

Both sets of tires hopped the curb. Pretty bad. But to make things worse, I turned and looked as I rode by and saw printed across the back:

HOW’S MY DRIVING? CALL insertnumbershere

“Pretty bad, actually,” I answered aloud to myself, laughing. I almost took down the number, just for fun.

Okay, I admit- that wasn’t wildly hilarious (“you had to’ve been there!” ;]). But as I made my way into work, I started thinking about the irony of the situation.

That big white van is me. I miss the “driveways” of God’s standard of holiness. All the time (thank God for grace unmeasured).

Perhaps just as importantly, though, is what’s stringing these spiritual curb-hops together. I have “HOW’S MY DRIVING?” printed across my forehead for everyone to see. Fake transparency. A facade of accountability.

What hit me as I walked into work was that no one ever actually calls those numbers (….unleash the flood of stories about people who have). Printing that information on the backs of 18-wheelers and big white vans has to be the biggest sham ever in the world of large-vehicle-driver accountability. Which is a pretty small world, granted.

The world of a believer’s life is huge, though. And with the sham of fake accountability installed, we begin to live comfortably dangerous lives without any support from the church body. Comfortable in the sense that we dont have faithful friends prodding us in the right direction spiritually, yet dangerous in the way that this lifestyle entirely skips God’s design for the believer’s progressively sanctified life- real interaction with others through the local church.

At the ugly core of it all probably lies either false humility for some, or for others a serious disconnect with one’s spiritual reality (perhaps rooted in pride as well). Whatever the root sin issue is, the overall mentality is gravely arrogant and resistant to the humility natural to the saving work of the Gospel.

Although spiritually speaking overcoming this lifestyle may seem like an impossiblity, the apostle Paul underlines in Colossians 1 the Christ-centered mentality of life ministry that helps us keep the Gospel at the middle of our accountability:

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that He powerfully works within me.

Thus, as Paul says, we need to present others mature in Christ. In all relationships. Especially, though, in the context of discipleship and small-group type (in modern terms) relationships where we can really begin to see the local body operate productively in people’s lives.

All of this involves real accountability. Real transparency. Raw honesty and biblical wisdom marinated in grace. How this all looks practically might be painful to our prideful hearts at first, but God’s sanctifying work in our lives involves real and honest life-on-life involvement with other believers.

Proverbs 27:17
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Wise words!

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