Lights in the Mirror

Christians, recently my wife and I were out for my birthday.  We had driven down to Omaha, had a great day, and we were back in town and almost home.  I remember noticing a police officer as we drove by, but really didn’t think much of it as we were in a really good conversation.  We turned the corner and were headed up the street, when I noticed in the mirror, the police SUV quickly go around a car at the bottom of a hill, turned on his lights, and sped up the hill.  As I saw the lights in the mirror, I thought for sure he had received a call. I pulled in our driveway to get out of the way and expected him to go by. He stopped at the edge of the driveway, parked his cruiser, and left the lights on.  That is when I realized I had been PULLED OVER!

As I sat there for a while, waiting for him to approach, I was calmly at peace.  When he approached the vehicle cautiously, I realized he was a little on edge, and rightfully so, as he did not know we lived at the residence of the driveway we just pulled into.  As he asked for my license, registration, and proof of insurance – he finally informed me of WHY he had pulled me over: I had a taillight that was burnt out. As he looked over the paperwork, we discussed which light it was, and that it was still partially working (the blinker and brake light were ok, but the running light was out).  He informed me he would let me go, as long as when he ran my license – I had no warrants. I was not bothered as I knew it would come back fine. He took off, we got inside, and I began to wonder what this was all about. I got up the next morning and had the light fixed within an hour. As I worked on the light, I was thinking about how I felt when I was pulled over.

I have been pulled over 2 times before, both for speeding, both justified, both over 13 years ago.  Once in college, once in high school. As I recalled those times, I realized that I was at complete peace this time, because I knew I had done nothing wrong.  I do not speed, I wear my seat-belt, I use my turn signals, I drive in a manner that is above the law. So when I see cops, I do not feel any sense of fear, anxiety, or worry that they might pull me over, because I don’t do anything against the law.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect, I used to speed all the time and drive completely different. On my long drives home from college, I would go as fast as I could and then if I saw a sedan (white or tan), I would slow down and hope that it wasn’t a trooper and they hadn’t caught me.  The last time I got pulled over, I remember it was at night, I was going 70 or so on the highway (limit 55). I blew past a car going the other way and saw it was a trooper, I watched in the mirror as he turned and flicked the lights on. That time I knew I was caught, I felt so bad/nervous as he came up to the car.  I knew I would get a ticket, and hoped it wouldn’t be too bad. It is funny, because looking back, I was driving my car like I was living my life, always afraid I could get caught, because I knew I was breaking the law.

As a Christian, I live my life above the law.  I live in such a way that if someone wants to question my life choices, I know that I am in line with God’s Word, His commands, and what He leads me to do in my personal relationship with Him. There is nothing I fear about another Christian, or spiritual authority “pulling me over.”  There are too many people, who call themselves Christians, who are living their lives afraid that someone will pull them over. Another Christian, a Pastor, a family member, who will call them out, on the spiritual laws they are breaking. How do I know? I have been there. In college, I was calling myself a Christian, yet I was living a life quite contrary.  I was drinking, smoking, partying, cussing, lusting, fornicating, being debaucherous, lying, stealing, and speeding. I was constantly in fear of being spiritually ‘pulled over’, mainly from my parents or older brother. If I was caught, I knew I was violating so many things that I couldn’t talk my way out of it. I was not living a life pleasing to God, and I lived in a state of constant unrest, no peace.  

When I got my life together in early 2008, I left the lifestyles, friends, and sinning behind.  I have had such peace and rest in my soul as I now know that I am in accordance with the law, so I have no worry about anyone knowing what I am doing.  When I think about living the life I was living; I struggle with whether or not I was actually a Christian, because why would a Christian live such a sinful life?  I now know that I was saved, I was just a really BAD Christian, like people who break the law are BAD citizens. What made me bad was my lack of understanding of why I should obey the physical and spiritual laws.

Higher authorities have decided the laws, put them in place, and enforce them for OUR good.  God’s laws are all about keeping us safe, healthy, protected, provided for, and loved under His covenant.  Our traffic laws are to keep us safe on the road, keep us from hurting ourselves or other people on the road, and to keep the flow of traffic safe and secure.  Most people don’t follow traffic laws like they don’t follow God’s laws because they find them ‘Constrictive not Constructive’, but that’s another post.

As I look back on being pulled over, and I reflect on how I live my life now, I feel such a sense of peace and security of being “above the law” because I am submitted “to the law”.  Living a life of submission and obedience creates a sense of such peace that I think people are missing. If you feel like you are always nervous that somebody spiritual could call you out – If you feel unworthy, unloved, unprotected, and unwilling to go to Church because that would be like hanging out at a police station when you know you have multiple warrants, then you are missing what the Christian life is about.  Jesus bled and died to pay for all our tickets, fines, erase our warrants, and make us as though we never sinned. We have no reason to fear a judge or jury, case or charge. But that does not mean that we should continue living a life of breaking God’s law, it means we have the power and freedom to live a life in accordance to His laws. The greatest of which is to love God, the second to love others as ourselves. I pray that if you find yourself feeling anything but peace in your heart when you think about being spiritually “pulled over” that you would go to God right now, and pray this prayer from your heart.

Father God, I know that I have been living a life that is not pleasing you.  I know that I have been living by my own rules and laws and not yours. I confess and repent of the things I have done (feel free to list specifically what you feel is wrong in your life).  I accept the freedom and forgiveness you have already provided for me in Jesus. I ask you to help me live righteously for you, help me to keep your commands, and help me to turn from my old ways, in Jesus Name, Amen.  You are brand new, no warrants, washed clean, now go out there, and live righteously, you will know you meant the prayer by how you live in the next couple of months. You are either a ‘Sinner Struggling with Salvation’ or a ‘Christian struggling with Sin’, but that’s another post as well!  

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. I John 1:9 (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9  (NLT)

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.  Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.  James 1:22-27 (NLT)

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.  But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.  Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.  Galatians 5:16-26 (NLT)

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.  Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.  Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him. Colossians 3:5-10 (NLT)

written and posted by Daniel Poggensee | 2019