Driver’s Education and Discipleship

It’s that time of year when I see cars going the speed limit, stopping at stop signs, using their turn signals, and obeying all traffic laws. On the back of most of those vehicles in bold, proclaim-it letters two words are inscribed: Student Driver.

Pre-Driver’s License young folk carefully navigate the streets and conditions as their weathered instructor sits in the front passenger seat. Back in the old days there used to be at least two other heads visible in the backseat awaiting their turns. That was when many of the school systems had a teacher on staff who taught Driver’s Education as a course…for a grade even! Can you imagine someone missing out on being the Class Valedictorian because she got a B in Driver’s Ed. She new Quantum Physics like the back of her hand, but she couldn’t steer a Crown Victoria for anything!

I marvel at the well-disciplined students who keep the tires between the white lines and keep their composure. The money their parents are shelling out is going to be worth it, as it develops a new driver who will know how to keep our roads safe.

But something happens a few weeks after the driving lessons have ended, the license is in the wallet, and the car is under the graduated student’s control. The pedal now goes to the metal, stop signs have become a suggestion, and speed limits irrelevant.

There is a difference between being an educated driver and being a disciple. An educated driver knows all the information, what the road signs mean and what it means to obey them, and what safe driving entails. A disciple, however, incorporates all of that knowledge and understanding into a basic belief system that is guided by that information and training.

In other words, there are a multitude of educated drivers who drive like they’re demon-possessed. Last week, a BMW driver in front of me on a crowded highway did more weaving than my grandmother used to do. I cringe when I see Mario Andretti (Showing my age with that name from the past!) approaching me from behind, obviously late for dinner.

I can’t resist using the same analogy for someone who knows about Jesus and someone who is a disciple of Jesus. We all know of a few people who have been thoroughly informed about the life, mission, and purpose of Christ– can probably even recite obscure passages from the books of Habbakuk and Obadiah– and yet they don’t follow Jesus. They’re used to being the one in the lead, not following in the footsteps.

Not that anyone of us is perfect! Far from it, but being a disciple of Jesus is having that basic belief system that guides you. It’s being grounded in Him and anchored to Him. It’s having the mind of Christ and such a submissive nature that the Holy Spirit leads us.

Let’s get real here! Many of us took the driver’s education course our churches offered that was called Sunday School or Church School, or even Awana Club on Wednesday nights. We learned what the right things to do are and what actions would get us in trouble.

And then we got our license…our freedom…and became our own driving force! It’s how other people were driving their lives and we didn’t want to miss out on the fun. “WWJD” got changed to “What Would Jesus Drive?”, and the answer had been “whatever I tell Him to!”

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