Jesus Take the Wheel?
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20
As I was on a long drive recently, I contemplated the idea of wanting God to take control of my life. In my addiction, I begged God to just run things. I was a mess, headed for a disaster, and I thought it would be better if God removed my free will and did everything for me. As I drove, the phrase, Jesus take the wheel, made me laugh, as I pictured myself sprawled out in the back seat while he sat up front.
It made me laugh because it’s an absurd idea. If I sat in the back of my car, waiting for God to move it, I’d never leave the driveway. I’d just sit there, going nowhere, because God doesn’t do everything for me and whether I like it or not, we are Jesus’ hands and feet here on Earth (1 Corinthians 12:27). He doesn’t take the wheel and drive our lives. He tells us how he wants us to live and he expects us to obey.
In today’s passage, Jesus doesn’t teach that when we become Christians, our perspective automatically changes so that we naturally desire to live for long term joy and not for immediate gratification. He instead, explains the perspective we must continually choose, and commands us to live accordingly. Don’t live for now. Momentary pleasures are fleeting. Choose to live every day for what truly lasts. What you pursue reveals where your heart truly lies. Do you follow me, or do you follow yourselves? (my paraphrase)
Money, status, pride, drugs, and toys don’t last. The immediate gratification from junk food is fleeting. When we expend our energy pursuing these things, we chase the wind. We can however, daily, live for what truly matters. We can love God and we can love people, investing every day in the eternal.
If we want to live as God intended, we don’t get there by sitting back, doing nothing, and pretending he drives the car. We get where God wants us to go, by listening to the words of Christ and then acting upon them. If we desire to know faith, life, joy, and recovery, we find those things not by pursuing our now appetite, but by daily choosing to live for what truly matters.