It’s time for another true confession. Remember the Disney driver’s education movies starring Goofy? (This reveals my age, but that’s not what I’m embarrassed about.)
Goofy plays the kind, friendly Mr. Walker when he is a pedestrian — but put him behind the wheel of a car, and he morphs into the crabby, impatient, self-righteous Mr. Wheeler.
Gone is Mr. Walker’s warm smile; in its place is Mr. Wheeler’s glowering countenance, angry voice and heavy hand on the horn.
I’ve been That Lady, way too many times. Oh, I might not honk much, but my attitude when on the road leaves a lot to be desired.
Lately the Holy Spirit has pointed out to me that I say, “Oh, come on!” an awful lot.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I act like it’s all about me. Like every stop light, pokey driver and ambling pedestrian is part of a cosmic plot to thwart my all-important agenda.
I’m SO not proud of this.
Here’s the thing: The problem isn’t the car. The car merely provides a place of power and anonymity, making it more tempting to sin in my attitude and behavior.
The root problem is in my heart.
Like the main character in Robert Lois Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Goofy’s character reveals the human condition — a condition described in the Bible.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” –Jeremiah 17:9
There you have it.
To a certain extent, we can behave well — but all of us deal with a hidden monster.
Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde… Mr. Walker, Mr. Wheeler. You and I are both.
Is there hope for our dilemma? Indeed there is.
“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” — Romans 8:4.
The answer is not to try harder to hide our monster. The answer is to be empowered by Jesus to walk according to the Spirit rather than our flesh.
That means making right choices in the strength God provides.
So here’s a quick checklist on what you can do as a believer when you face a habitual sin:
- Agree that it is wrong. Don’t explain, excuse or rationalize it.Whether a loving friend confronts you or the Holy Spirit convicts you, confess that your behavior is sinful.
- Change your thinking and behaving, by the grace of God. In other words, repent. In the case of impatient driving, I’ve had to examine my motives for hurrying and being so impatient with others.
- Take your thoughts captive. Taking my “hurry sickness” problem to God uncovered a whole tangled mess of related wrong thoughts, which I am now taking captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Here’s why I have hope — Jesus paid the price for my sin. He also empowers me to live righteously. Truth is, I don’t have to be a slave to impatience or rage or selfishness anymore.
I relapse sometimes, but I refuse to be dismayed. God is transforming and sanctifying me. This is more than lofty spiritual words. It is reality.
Because of Jesus, I can be Mrs. Walker — even while behind the wheel.
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Photo: The Walt Disney company, 1950, “Motor Mania.”