So I finally decided to start learning how to drive. After months of nagging encouragement from friends and family to get behind the wheel, I booked my first lesson late last year.
At first, I questioned whether my twentysomethinglookingthirtysomething year old instructor was a serious guy because of the old school slang that he so often uses, the fact that he wears shades even when the sun isn’t out and his many jokes. But so far, so good.
During my lessons, my instructor:
- Gives me a set of instructions before I ‘drive’ from A to B
- Prompts me as I attempt to drive
- Asks what I think went well and what didn’t go so well.
I soon realised that my performance was always based on how well I had followed his instructions. After highlighting what went wrong, he always says something along these lines: ‘my instructions never change and the car never changes. Just do what I say, nothing else.’
At times, this can be frustrating. I mean, I don’t always purposefully not follow his instructions… I get confused between my right and left in the moment, the brake pedal = accelerate pedal when I’m nervous and sometimes I simply forget.
But there are times when I do decide not to listen to him. I decide to do what I think is right instead… whilst knowing fully well that I still know little to nothing about driving. Reflecting on this, I cannot help but think about God and my response to His word.
Just like my driving instructor, God’s instruction never changes.
Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven [standing firm and unchangeable].” (AMP)
“The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The thoughts and plans of His heart through all generations.” (AMP)
So if we say that his word is everlasting, why do we act against it and choose to disobey? In other words, God is asking, ‘And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?’ (Luke 6:46).
One of the reasons why I disobey my instructor is because I don’t understand his instruction. So instead, I decide to do what makes sense to me, which usually ends with me screaming when the car reacts to my disobedience.
We tend to want to have an understanding of everything. We hate not being ‘in the know’, so we seek for understanding elsewhere (usually from an unreliable source) and apply our own knowledge to things that don’t seem to make sense to us.
1 Kings 6:20
And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.
This is an example of some of the very specific instructions that God gave Solomon for the building of His temple. Solomon could have decided to change the measurements that God had given him and he could have decided to use silver instead, based on his personal preference and what he believed was right. Similarly, we make the decision to go against the commands of God at times, with arguments like ‘it doesn’t make sense, I don’t think God really needs me to do ‘that’. It makes more sense to do ‘this’ instead.’ However, instead of questioning God’s plans, ‘Solomon built the house, and finished it’ (1 Kings 6:14).
Like my driving instructor, God does not always explain the reasons for his specific instructions to us. He doesn’t need to. The purpose of an instruction is not to be understood, but to be followed. But because of a lack of trust, we decide that we know what’s best.
When I realised that the only way to quickly pass my driving test so that I can finally say goodbye to TfL was to just obey my instructor, I became more diligent in listening carefully to what he was saying and doing it exactly as it was said. It is the same with obeying God’s word. As we simply obey, sin will be far from us, safety is guaranteed for ourselves and for others that we are an example to and we will find ourselves in God’s will.
Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (NIV)