First off, no I didn't get another speeding ticket :) However, as I was preparing to pay my speeding ticket this morning and thinking about blogging, I began to think of many different directions I could take the blog. It's funny how the Holy Spirit can use one thing to cause you to reflect and learn many things. As I finished up the first blog several of the other lessons were still nagging at me, so I'm going to share another one.
So let's back track. I told you a small piece of my history with speeding. I got my first ticket at 17 and that's when I removed the Jesus magnet off my car. I wasn't ready to get rid of my sin, but I also didn't want people thinking it was okay for Christians to speed (hypocrite much?). When I was 18 I once again got convicted for speeding as I got pulled over coming home from church and the cop asked "where you coming from young lady?".... ummmm... church?!? I decided it was time to do something crazy. I bought one of those window stickers that was a Christian decal so that I would be motivated to stop speeding. No more taking the magnet off, time to get serious about my sin.
Later that year I packed my bags and headed for Lubbock Texas (Wreck em' Tech!). That is an 8 1/2 hour drive on a good day with light traffic and no crazy weather. Well, come on it's 8 1/2 hours, without a doubt I sped, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Between the ages of 18-21 I racked up about 6 tickets for speeding. And come on let's be honest, tickets just mean those are the times you got caught and COULDN'T talk your way out of it. This about the time I feel like I should be put in some class.
"Hello my name is Jessika and I'm a compulsive speeder"
Following my admission of guilt, I'd probably say something like and I've been obeying the law for the last 7 days, but as soon as I'm running late that's going down the drain... Please don't tell Jesus or my Pastor. Okay surely you realize I'm making a joke, but there is a point.
My conviction with speeding was a roller coaster. Often times I tried diligently to get victory and be obedient to that still small voice, but my dedication to my conviction was conditional on circumstances. If others around me were going 85-90 on I20 why should I have to go 70? Follow the flow of traffic right? If I was running late to get to church all the way across town, surely God would rather me get there on time for the first song so that I couldn't worship Him and He wouldn't be so concerned about the speed limit. For the love of God if I had to be in a car 9 hours, I have every right to speed so that I can cut off half an hour! My standards weren't based off of what was sin, what the Bible said, what the Holy Spirit had already spoken to me, my conviction and standard was based off of those around me, convenience, my emotions, the moral scale of society, and whatever current circumstance I was in.
I know I've made a big joke about my struggle with speeding, but in what other areas have I, us, we, the church, allowed our convictions and standards be compromised based off of circumstances?
If it's the Word that says whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely etc. think on these things (Phil. 4:8) Why have we decided it's okay to not only think on things impure but entertain ourselves with things impure? Simply because it's not so bad compared to society's choices? In the eyes of society it's "clean", but next to the Word it's ungodly and unfruitful. Have I based my convictions on the Word or simply that which is "better than the world's"?
Here's an ouchie. Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only that which is helpful for building others up..." How often do I allow myself to knock others down with sarcasm or teasing and I justify it because "they know I'm teasing". That's a great standard if I base it off of my circumstances are those around me, but once again if I put it next to the Word.... I'm just wrong.
This one gets me. Matthew 5:44 "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" How much time have I spent in prayer and interecession for those who persecute me? Oh yea I justify myself here too. God I'm not mean to them. I don't judge them. I'm not yelling at them. I'm just completely ignoring their existence. And in fact I could probably get with a group of Christians and we'd all back each other up. Just love them and forget them. But next to the Word, He says pray for them.
I know we could go on and on about things I'm not doing that the Word tells me to do, we could go on and on about the things I'm doing the Word tells me not to do, and my point is not legalism or condemnation, but rather to motivate us to examine ourselves as Paul says in 2 Cor. 13:5. Where have we allowed our convictions and standards to adapt our circumstances rather than being solely based off of the Word of God?
I want to look more and more like Jesus. It's not just about not looking like the world, it's about looking like Him. That will happen when we let the Word be our guide not our circumstances.
Be Blessed, J. Tate