Imagine for a minute that my relationship with Christ was like a road trip. I was given the keys to the car. I was driving to Heaven, so to speak. I was on my way. Jesus was there, sitting in the passenger seat. I was allowing him to be my navigator but I was pretty sure I knew where I was going and how to get there. I mean, I knew a lot of scripture. I had a basic understanding of where I needed to be driving.
Every now and then, Jesus would suggest a different route, one with a scenic view, something He wanted to show me. Many times that route required turning off the main road. That bothered me a little bit. After all, why would we turn south when we were supposed to be going east? I was busy. I had kids and had to make dinner and needed to do laundry and shouldn't we just stick to the main route, God?? I mean, when I am on the highway, I don't have to listen closely to your direction. I just drive. Absentmindedly. Many times absent spiritedly. I never doubted that I would get to Heaven but I have to admit, sometimes that drive became SOO boring...kind of like driving through western Kansas on your way to Colorado. You know when you see those mountains, it is going to be amazing and driving there is just the price you have to pay.
Since Christmas the year before, (both Doc and) I had been increasingly edgy about our trips. Uncomfortable. Stopping at gas stations to stretch and looking around at the other drivers wondering if they were feeling edgy, too. Finally, I had a talk with Jesus and told Him that I was not satisfied with this trip anymore. I still wanted to end up at my final destination, but was there any way to make things more interesting? "Why don't you take the next right," He said. And we went down a side road where we ended up spending Christmas serving others more than ourselves. What a refreshment! I returned to the main road more willing to follow my Navigator's suggestions. I started taking the side roads, stopping to take in the view, enjoying the company of my passenger, asking Him to tell me about what I was seeing and why He wanted me to see it.
Finally, it dawned on me. WHY WAS I DRIVING??? God is the Creator. He knows where all the good stuff is. He knows which roads open up to breathtaking views, life changing experiences. So, January 15th I found myself sitting in church with a heart that was longing to give up the keys and let Jesus drive, but a mind scared of what that would mean in my life. He asked me to do something: to give up the control. He simply asked me to raise my hand to worship during a praise song (something I am perfectly comfortable watching those around me do, but not comfortable doing myself)...to risk looking foolish as I veered off the highway of traditional rule following and legalism in favor of humbly obeying and agreeing to go where He sent me, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I stood there and argued in my spirit with Him. "I don't want to. I feel silly." He gently told me that I was all talk about traveling with Him unless I was willing to trust Him and do as He asked. So, there I was. Driving the car with the exit coming up and I needed to decide whether I was happy staying on the highway with only the occasional scenic side trip or if I was going to pull off at the exit, get out of the car and let Jesus drive from here on out. So I raised my hand. So simple, so hard. It was the moment I got out of the car and turned over the keys.
I wanted righteousness, not just fire insurance. I wanted the fullness of Christ, not just status quo.
I think this is what Paul means when he writes about Christ living in us...
(New International Readers Version)
I died so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. I don’t live any longer. Christ lives in me. My faith in the Son of God helps me to live my life in my body. He loved me. He gave himself for me.
21 I do not get rid of the grace of God. What if a person could become right with God by obeying the law? Then Christ died for nothing!
(Easy to Read Version)
I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. 20 So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in [c] the Son of God. He is the one who loved me and gave himself to save me. 21 I am not the one destroying the meaning of God’s grace. If following the law is how people are made right with God, then Christ did not have to die.
19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
Since then, I must tell you, I screw up. There are times that I ask for the keys back. I drive for a while and then I remember and I pull over and get back in the passenger seat. He is always willing to trade back, thank goodness. I can't wait to see the things He has for me (and my family)!
We are currently 14 days away from our move to Indiana. We are packing and trusting as we let God drive. It is going to be an amazing adventure with lots of breathtaking views, I'm sure, but I can't help but ask Him every now and then if He's SURE we are going in the right direction! He always assures me He knows the way!