You’re Going the Wrong Way
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17
Recently, while in the city, my wife was navigating us to our destination, when she told me to change lanes. Her lane had a lot of cars in it though, and my lane was empty, so I chose the path of least resistance . . . and ended up taking us the wrong direction. I could have continued in my wrong direction, since the traffic was much lighter, but no matter how well the traffic was flowing, my route wasn’t ever going to get us to our destination. So, I turned around, and eventually got us where we needed to go.
This is my life. I know where I should be going, but I have different ideas. I think I have an easier route, or I simply want to go my way. My way might even seem to work out for a while. Eventually though, the misery of going my own way sets in and I realize my need to turn around. By that time, I’ve already traveled far enough in the wrong direction that it’s a considerable amount of work just to get back to where I started. Why didn’t I go the right way to start with?
In today’s passage, Matthew records the simple message with which Jesus began his ministry. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. His command wasn’t complicated. He simply insisted that those who were going the wrong way must recognize it and turn around if they wanted to know him and his kingdom.
Repentance requires that we recognize that we’re going the wrong way and that we want something different badly enough that we’re willing to change. On the highway, it took just a couple minutes to turn around. Changing directions in life though is often much more complicated. This is no simple mental task of only asking forgiveness. The repentance that Jesus taught was a radical change in behavior, abandoning our old ways to follow him.
When we become tired of the disaster of our way, we must do whatever it takes to change course, abandon our way, and follow God’s. This is a daily task, as we require frequent course correction. If we desire life, faith and recovery though, we will only get there by continually following him.
So many possibilities exist for going the wrong way. Using your highway analogy, I think of taking the wrong exit. The wrong on-ramp. Circling around a cloverleaf and trying again, only to make a different mistake. Ugh. In everyday life, sometimes I think I’m trying to drive in all the lanes at once. Writing a book. Editing someone else’s book. Assisting a business with Facebook posts. Proofreading a client’s thesis. Doing my laundry–or any number of household chores. Carving out time to read my Bible. Sadly, it’s that last item which has often come in last on the never-ending to do list . . . I need to move it to the top of my list. Right now–and get back to single-lane living today.
I require almost constant course correction. It is very much like driving. I cannot just point the car in one direction and then abandon the effort. I ned to continually keep my eyes on the goal and adjust accordingly. It is a good analogy. Thanks Renee! Good to hear from you!