Distracted driving is a big deal. Billboards line interstates warning of the dangers of texting while driving. State laws seek to reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving. And if you don’t believe me, just take a peek at the driver sitting next to you. It won’t take long and you’ll catch someone head down, fingers scrolling, only to be followed by the blaring horn of a frustrated driver behind them.
Some days I’m not even sure most drivers understand the simple concept of a traffic light. Green means GO, Red is STOP, and Yellow means SLOW DOWN….not time to push your luck and beat the red light.
I’m not exempt here. I’ve contributed my fair share of violations. It’s a slippery slope. One text, no harm done. Then another, then another and before you know it you’ve glazed through a stop sign, driven through a red light, and severely endangered your own and others’ lives.
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A couple of weeks ago while waiting for a traffic light to turn green, I responded to a text. Moments later the car behind me began pounding the horn. I looked up to realize all the cars around me had moved forward in traffic, except for me. My children were in the car. I could have caused an accident. What was I teaching them?
Driving Spiritually Distracted
I get this all sounds very trivial. But in that moment of distraction, a spiritual truth downloaded. I don’t mean in our physical cars but in our spiritual souls. As our attention drifts with the tides of social media, unhealthy comparison, political paradigm, and the current cultural concourse, we lose our ability to respond to simple spiritual cues that allow us to stay the course of righteousness. We are distracted from THE LIGHT of true life, the light of the Holy Spirit in us.
Spiritual Traffic Signals
Our spiritual lives flow in rhythm, much like afternoon traffic.
Some seasons are GO, in which God has empowered us to respond in faith. During GO, we push forward and serve with vigor. There are seasons of STOP, during which The Holy Spirit reveals our need for rest, respite, and intimate rejuvenation with Him. There are also seasons of SLOW DOWN, in which God knows we are pushing beyond the scope of His intent.
At times we supplement the speed of life God has directed with our own works. We push the boundaries of our physical strength and our emotional stability in an effort to look more “spiritual” before others. Much like the unsuspecting progression towards distracted driving, we often don’t realize we have lost our ability to discern the spiritual traffic lights of life. But as we allow the lights of the world to filter through our minds and hearts, we grow less alert to the guiding lights of eternal life.
Instead of recognizing the need to slow down and refocus our hearts, we push our spiritual luck.
We rationalize away the need to spend one-on-one time with God, the need for spiritual community, and the call to live on mission for Christ.
As new cultural and political movements sweep through, we begin to mistake the green light of the Holy Spirit with the green light of culture. Movement forward is good, as long as it is guided and centered on the mission of Christ. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many Christians respond to the wrong traffic light signals, and, as a result, lose their way on the narrow road.
The Call to Spiritual Alertness
What am I saying here? We as God’s people must pray and ask God to open our eyes to His signals. We must ask God to keep us alert in our pursuit of Him. We must choose to discipline ourselves and remove the distractions of life that cause the volume of His voice to diminish.
Our world needs Jesus unlike ever before, and the souls of men cannot afford for the bearers of eternal hope to be driving around distracted. God’s people need strength and resolve like ever before. It’s part of our role as ambassadors of Christ to stand alert in prayer.
I encourage you (and me!) to meditate on the following verses, asking the Lord to restore spiritual alertness where distraction has made its home.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:6 “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”
- Luke 21:34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.”
- Ephesians 5:14 “For anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
- Ephesians 6:18 “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints”
- 1 Peter 1:15 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”