Road Rules for a New Year

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by Santosh Poonen

From everlasting to everlasting You are God…
For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.
As for the days of our life, their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away.
So teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
(from Psalm 90)

I recently turned the page on another year in my life, and was reminded through this Psalm of how short our time on this earth really is. With it came a realization of how vital each moment in life is, as a snapshot of my life. Contemplating the road ahead, I saw 3 Rules of the Road by which God calls me to abide:

red_light1. Stop at the red lights. On life’s road I tend to be the kind of person who always sees green. This would explain the carnage of numerous wrecks or near misses on the road behind me. Instead, God asks me now to first stop and acknowledge Him at every intersection, so that He can straighten the road ahead of me (Proverbs 3:6). If I never wait long enough for Him to direct the path ahead of me, it’s no wonder that I hit a traffic jam or lose my way eventually.

green_light2. Don’t stop at the green lights. Some lights, like free right turns, are always green, and those are situations where there is a gap to be bridged in relationships. One of the signs that we have truly been made new in Christ is that we become reconcilers (II Corinthians 5:17-20). In every situation if there’s an opportunity to apologize, when I delay by standing on my pride, or defending myself, or pointing at the other’s guilt, I’m only blocking traffic and will likely cause an accident. Instead, I ought to always be quick to go through the green light of making peace (Romans 12:18).

highway_median3. Don’t drive in the median. All along the highway of service to God are what I call “Impress ’Em” medians. A median is that sometimes-flowery, sometimes-gravelly, sometimes-grassy stretch to your left that’s neither here nor there, and is a nightmare to drive on, if you’ve ever tried. The moment I live to please people in this life, I’ve just driven off the paved highway of service and onto this median of opinion (Galatians 1:10). In life, I constantly face the choice of either “winning friends and influencing people” – thus gaining some temporary earthly benefit – or winning God and thus influencing people – this is work of eternal value. In order to impress people I need to be talented – and the more of “me”, the better! In order to really help them, on the other hand, I need the power of the Holy Spirit – and the less of “me”, the better! So, when I find that my wheels are spinning and I’m kicking up a lot of dirt, it’s time to quit trying to impress people and get back on the highway of service.

This one short life, ‘twas soon over
And each one’s work tested by fire:
The many who hoarded away their days
Lost it all in eternal blaze;
The few who gave all, losers seemed,
But gained it all, for Christ had redeemed.

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