Setting Our Own Limits
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Did you know that according to a national study, drivers using cruise control, on average, set their speed eight miles per hour over the speed limit? Did you also know that there is an interesting correlation between our interstate driving habits and our response to God’s laws? Find out more in today’s message.
As I write this, my wife and I are on a multi-state, 2600 mile road trip that has included a funeral, a wedding, and visits with family and friends. This message was inspired by the drivers we encountered along the way.
Most drivers today use cruise control and most of them drive at a speed faster than the speed limit. They believe they can avoid getting a speeding ticket if they stay within their self imposed “excess allowance limit.” As I said, the average is 8 mph above the limit. How about you, how fast over the speed limit do you set your cruise control?
We noticed one other thing on our trip. Most drivers, even those who set their cruise control over the speed limit, slow down to observe the stated speed limit when entering a construction zone. We have all seen the signs that say, Let ‘em work, let ‘em live! Sadly, some people even ignore the safety zones and fly through these slow speed zones putting themselves and the workers in danger.
When we disregard the rules, there are consequences. Work zone fatalities soared to new heights in 2021. There were over 105,000 work zone crashes. This resulted in over 42,000 injuries and 954 work zone fatalities.
So where is the correlation between our speeding habits and our relationship with God? It appears we humans prefer to set our own limits. This unenviable trait develops as children when we push our parents limits to see how far we can stretch their rules before getting in trouble. This trait continues into adulthood and even impacts our relationship with God.
Let’s face it, there is a reason for speed limits. They were put in place for our safety. Likewise, there is a reason for God’s laws. They too, were put in place for our safety and well-being.
When it comes to God’s laws, we also try to exceed the limit. Here’s one example. The dictionary defines a “white lie” as, “lies about small or unimportant matters that someone tells to avoid hurting another person.” The bottom line is this, a lie is a lie! Yet some of us allow ourselves room for a “small white lie” or a fib.
The same is true with other sins. Stealing is wrong, yet many people feel it is okay to use work hours to make personal calls or surf the internet for personal things. Adultery is a sin, yet many believe there is nothing wrong with viewing pornography even though Jesus said “everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” You get the point. Like with driving, we seem inclined to always exceed God’s preset limits and laws. No doubt there are innumerable other examples I could give.
Commandments are not suggestions. We all know that driving too fast in a construction zone can get someone killed. Likewise, exceeding God’s laws can lead to spiritual death. There are good reasons for speed limits and God has reasons for every law He established, even when we don’t like what they are.
When driving, cruise control can be a good thing. When using it, however, we must remain alert. If we get distracted on cruise control we may find ourselves inadvertently speeding through a construction zone, putting ourselves and others in danger.
It is a completely different issue when it comes to our faith. As a rule, it is not a good thing to put our faith on auto pilot. We never want to become complacent or distracted on our faith journey. There are danger zones along the road of life. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us “Be sober and vigilant.” This is great advice for driving and for our faith journey.
We don’t have a right to set the speed limit. When it comes to following God, we also don’t set the rules. Take a moment to reflect on the following questions:
- Is my faith life on cruise control?
- Are there some areas where I am abiding by my own limits rather than following God’s?
- For the safety of my soul, do I need to slow down and pay better attention?
Many of us try to sneak in a few mph over the speed limit without getting caught. This may work when driving, but we cannot hide from God. His radar gun is always on and He sees everything. He knows every time we disregard His limits. The good news is this, if we have in the past routinely exceeded God’s limits, Jesus has already stepped up to pay our speeding ticket. However after doing so, He calls us to repent and be changed. Today is the best time to change.
Heavenly Father, not my will, but your will be done. You have set limits for my safety. Help me to abide by your commands. Amen!
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