Maintain Your Lane

Cars don’t fly…yet. Oh, there are several that have been test-flown and are awaiting approval, by both the DOT and the FAA. Yep, you will need both a driver’s license and a pilot’s license to operate them. You will also need lots of cash – like $1.5M, give or take. So, while we wait for those cars to get more available and affordable, we can look at the many advanced features that continue to be added to our road cars. The feature I most recently went to battle with in a rental car was the LDW and LKA, or lane departure warning and lane keep assist.

The difference in LDW and LKA can be likened to the tactics of an authority figure who has set guidelines for you. First, you are warned when you begin to drift from those previously set guidelines. In a car with LDW, this warning begins with a calm and soft beep, a flashing light on your dashboard and perhaps your side-view mirror, and/or a mild, but noticed seat vibration. If ignored, these signs progress to the louder more significant audio warning and the more jarring seat warning. The LKA, on the other hand, is like the authority figure in your life becoming physically active in redirecting you when you have actually “crossed the line” and have mildly strayed from said guidelines. They give you a calm, but firm and consistent push back into your “lane”. The car with LKA refuses to let you drift far or change lanes altogether (even when you fight with it), unless you follow the protocol of putting your blinker on, and have no foreign object within the required number of feet of your vehicle.

My husband will be the first to tell you, actually, probably my kids will be first, that I don’t like to be criticized while driving. There is always a perfectly good reason why I am deviating from typical safe driving strategies, and besides, most of those are for other drivers that aren’t as good as me. Well, you can imagine how well I took to this automated disciplinarian. Especially when the car didn’t ask me why I wanted to change lanes and wasn’t using my signal. It just prohibited me from doing what I wanted to do. It didn’t really care about my excuses. Dumb car. Actually…smart car.

Jesus, out of His great love for us, gives us a whole driver’s manual for life: His Word, the Bible. Why? For our safety and the luxury of a life more easily navigable.  “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 If we read and follow the Bible, we know the guidelines on how to get the most fulfillment and joy out of life. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 When we begin to stray from the path He has for us, He often gives us audible cues from His Holy Spirit inside of us and from those around us who also know His Word and know us. When we fail to heed the warnings, He sometimes incorporates the discipline of actually shoving us back toward the path He has laid out for us. At times, we respectfully submit. Other times, we don’t really like that. We fight back. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

What will it take to keep us from drifting out of our lane? Gentle reminders, hard shoves, or a crash? Or will we go off-road altogether and only be sorry when we go skidding into the pearly gates trying to give our excuses to the God who will at that time be done with excuses?

There will be potholes, bumps and crazy drivers that we will encounter on the road of life. But, when we as believers maintain our lane by burning our fuel to honor the God who sets eternal life with Him as our ultimate destination, we will arrive in heaven to hear Him say, “well done good and faithful servant!…Come and share your Master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

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