May 04, 2020 08:00am
Who’s Really in the Driver’s Seat?

A few days ago on my drive to the office I realized something that I suppose I already knew: Automobiles are amazing. Over time they have evolved from something that simply gets us from one place to another to highly advanced, very complex, integrated, and intelligent machines. 

If you own a vehicle that’s been manufactured in the last few years it can do hundreds of things besides just take you from here to there. It probably has features you don’t even know about. Consider this . . . 

On some mornings, when it’s either hot or cold, I remote start my car from my house while I’m getting dressed to let it automatically warm or cool to a preset temperature that suits me. 

On cold mornings, the steering wheel and seats are heated . . . “bun warmers” as I call them.  

When I get into my car, my smart phone automatically syncs with the on-board systems in my car.  Once my phone and car are connected and, based on the day, using information gathered from my phone like time of day and previous travel, it gives me notices.  On Sunday, for example, it tells me that I’m 25 minutes from church and plans the route. On weekdays it gives me the same advice, except it knows that I’m going to “Office”. Oooh. 

Once on my way to wherever I’m going, hundreds of sensors and systems go to work and begin monitoring the car, me, and things around us. Critical systems like engine, transmission, and tire pressure are monitored and if needed I get alerts to tell me if there’s a problem and when it’s time to take it for service.  

The climate control systems automatically regulate the inside temperature for my side and my wife’s side of the car.  

Once I get on the interstate I set the cruise control.  Once set, a radar-like system will maintain the speed and distance to the vehicles in front of me and adjust my speed based on their speed.  

Along my route there are sensors that tell me when vehicles are near me or in my blind spot.  If a vehicle in front of me suddenly stops, my car has emergency braking assist and in milliseconds will automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision. And if I had an accident it automatically calls 911 and provides information about where I am and even which area of the vehicle was damaged.  

Then finally, once I arrive at the office if I want to parallel park, my car will use sensors to automatically back my car into a parking spot.  Wow!

So back to how this started. Last week while I was on my way to the office I reached to push a button on my dash and inadvertently pushed another button my mistake. A mile or so down the road, after I had reached a certain speed and while I was gawking at the scenery, my car decided I was not driving very well and actually took control of the steering wheel with a very noticeable vibration and then gently nudged me back to the center of the road. 

Hang on! Who’s driving this rig? It’s supposed to be me.  Remember that button I pushed by mistake?  It was the Lane Sense button. Its job is to do three things:

know where I am  

know where I’m supposed to be  

warn me and guide me to a place of safety 

Sounds like a great function, right?  Then why was it turned off?  

Here’s why. I like driving the way I like to drive.  I don’t need any help driving . . . been doing it for years . . . long before I got this car. I don’t need my car’s advice or interference.  If I want to see the world from the shoulder of the road that’s my business.  So there. 

When this incident happened, God reminded me of something.  Or, better said, God created this moment to teach me something:  I DO need Lane Sense. 

In my car? Probably.  In my life? Absolutely!  

Then God reminded me of a truth: He IS my Lane Sense.  You’re already there aren’t you?  Yep, God is our Lane Sense in the form of the Holy Spirit. Consider this:                                                           

The kind of automobile systems I described above might be described in this way:

  • They are “on board” – they are integrated into the operating systems of the automobile
  • They “advise”  – low fuel, time to service, how far to the our destinations
  • They “guide and direct” – voice-guided navigation and Lane Sense to help us stay between the lines
  • They “warn” – radar systems that STOP us before we crash

The Holy Spirit is like that because he:

  • is installed when we’re saved – Romans 8:11
  • is on board – 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us that not only was the Holy Spirit “installed” when we’re saved, he is “on board” and goes with us
  • advises us – John 14:26
  • guides and directs us – John 16:13, 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, Romans 8:14
  • warns us – John 16:7-8

Scripture tells us that even Jesus was led by the Spirit in Matt 4:1.  So if Jesus was willing to be guided by the Holy Spirit I ABSOLUTELY should be.    

Here’s the bottom line:  If you’re saved, the Spirit is now “installed”.  It’s not that we don’t have access to the Spirit’s guidance, advice and warnings. Just like the Lane Sense function, the Spirit knows where I am, where I’m supposed to be, then warns and guides me in the right direction.  

The “system” is there, the question is whether we’ll actually listen,  respond and enjoy the blessings the Holy Spirit can bring.  Or we can just “turn him off,” because we like driving the way we like to drive . . . and then crash.  

Blessing or crashing?  Blessing seems waaay better.

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