Girlfriends in God - Aug. 8, 2008

August 8, 2008
God's Speedometer
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Friend to Friend
I met my husband at a Bible Study in college and quickly learned that he was a very frugal, industrious, and resourceful young man.  On our first date, he came to pick me up in his ten-year-old Volkswagen Beetle, which he had purchased for $725.  He says it was yellow.  I say it was beige.  Regardless of the color, this fine piece of machinery had several "remarkable" features.

I don't know if it was the weather or our excitement on our first date, but as soon as we got into the car, the windows fogged up.  As we drove down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, he asked, "Sharon, will you please get the defroster from the glove compartment and help me out so I can see?"  I reached in the compartment to pull out the defroster - a small towel.  Of course, I was impressed with his great wit and was delighted to ride around campus, wiping the front windshield as we went along.  (Isn't it amazing the perspective we have of inconveniences when love is new?)

Another amazing feature of this "beige" car was its ability to plow through the snow like a miniature snowmobile. In the South, it's a big deal when we get more than a few flakes because we’re not prepared for big snows.  Over our first spring break, when it snowed 18", everyone was paralyzed, home bound, or on the streets sliding around the road and into each other.  Everyone, that is, except Steve and his Little Engine That Could.  We were the envy of all the other shiny new cars on campus.

But perhaps the most remarkable feature of the VW was the speedometer.  It didn't work.  The speedometer broke when the odometer hit 200,000 miles and never left zero again.

"Steve," I asked, "If your speedometer doesn't work, how do you know how fast you are going?" 

"Well," he answered, "I never know for sure how fast I'm going.  I just have to pay attention to how fast cars around me are traveling and pace myself according to their speed.  Besides, I can tell when to change gears and about how fast I’m going by how much the car shakes!"

Steve traveled around town and on highways, with no earthly idea of his exact speed.   He was totally dependent on those around him in order to pace himself.

We were married ten months after our first date, on a hot August day, between the last session of summer school and fall semester.  It was about 98 degrees the day that Steve drove from Charlotte to Rocky Mount, N.C. for our wedding weekend. (Oh, did I mention that the VW had no air-conditioning?)  He left Charlotte in the wee hours on a Friday morning to avoid the mid-day heat.  Because it was so early, there was virtually no traffic.  Now that may seem like a dream come true for most people,  but remember, Steve needed traffic to judge his own speed.  His points of reference were missing, and he began to sweat.   

About two hours into the trip, Steve saw a blue light flashing in his rear-view mirror and his heart sank as he realized he was being pulled over by a state patrolman.

"Where you going in such a hurry, young man?" the officer asked.

“Actually, sir, I'm on my way to get married," Steve replied.

The patrolman just smiled as he handed Steve the ticket and said, "Well, don't let this ruin your day."

When Steve told me his story, I was angry at that patrolman, but the truth is, cars are not intended to be driven without a speedometer, and neither are we.  Our speedometer of course, is the Word of God.  The Lord has written us this wonderful love letter to teach us how to drive safely through life.  We aren't supposed to judge our pace or lifestyle by what others around us is doing.  We aren’t supposed to listen to the world’s ideas for success, happiness, and fulfillment. We are to listen to God and allow His Word to be our guide.

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."  I’ll admit that I have a tendency to listen to the world’s wooing and pace myself according to what is going on around me. However, when we listen to the world’s voices rather than to God’s voice, when we pace ourselves according to the culture around us, we are headed for trouble, but when we pattern our actions according to God’s Word and depend on the Holy Spirit to fuel our lives, we’ll be headed safely in the right direction.

Let’s Pray
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that we don’t have to guess how to do this thing called life.  You have given us the owner’s manual – the Bible.  We don’t need to pattern our lives by what we see going on around us, but we can look right in Your Word to learn how to have abundant life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Now It’s Your Turn
Would you say that you pattern your life more according to what the Bible has to say, or by what the world around you has to say?

Here are some hard questions to consider.  What is your view on the following?

…a man and woman who live together, but are not married
…little white lies
…cheating on taxes
…gossip – or reading about gossip
…sex outside of marriage

Today, think about some other areas where you might have formed opinions based on the world’s ideas, rather than God’s truth. 

More from the Girlfriends
Wow, this devotion left us with a lot to think about.  Sometimes it is difficult to know if our thoughts are Biblical or worldly.  The only way to know the difference is to know God’s Word.  If you would like to learn more of what the Bible has to say, Sharon Jaynes has many wonderful Bible study guides.  Most of the books on her resource page have a Bible study in the back or a separate Bible study guide.  Visit and discover the many treasures in the Bible just waiting to be discovered!

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Originally published Friday, 08 August 2008.