July 4, 2013
How are Your Knee Jerk Reactions?
“…train yourself to be godly,” (1Timothy 4:7 NIV).
Friend to Friend
It was hot. The traffic was heavy. I was young and distracted.
I was driving alone in the flow of vacationer traffic traveling to and from the North Carolina coast. I was in the group headed for home. The July traffic was bumper-to-bumper, with everyone going faster than the posted speed limit. I had other things on my mind besides maneuvering in traffic and was paying little attention to the cars around me. (OK, inside scoop. My boyfriend and I had just broken up. Crying my twenty-year-old eyes out.)
Traveling 60 miles per hour in my sporty two-tone Pontiac Sunbird, I felt my front right tire slip off of the asphalt and onto the gravel shoulder of the road. In a flood of panic, I heard the voice of my Driver’s Ed teacher from four years before, “If you run off the road, do not, and I repeat, do not jerk your car back on the road. Slow to a stop and then gently guide the car back on the road.”
My mind knew the rule. I was even repeating, “Do not jerk the car. Do not jerk the car.” Then I promptly jerked the car. I pulled the steering wheel to the left, jerked the car onto the road, and lost control. First the Sunbird flew across two lanes of traffic to the left and then, after over-correcting again, she flew back off the road to the right. As if in slow motion, the car began a descent down an embankment.
The weight of the car became unbalanced and began to roll like a toy tossed by an angry child. As the car somersaulted down the embankment, my body tossed and tumbled like a rag doll, bouncing around the car’s interior. The seatbelt law wasn’t in effect yet, and I wasn’t wearing mine. When the car landed upside down at the bottom of the embankment, I was sitting on the ceiling on the passenger’s side.
Travelers watched aghast as the scenario played out before them. You can imagine how amazed they were to see me crawl out of the car’s open window without a scratch, holding my Jade plant I had purchased the day before. I knew, without a doubt, that I should not have lived through that accident. It was only by the grace of God that I survived.
Thinking back on that event, I am reminded how powerful reflexes are. When the car veered off the road, I knew what to do, but I did the opposite. I knew not to jerk the steering wheel, but I did it anyway.
Sometimes we know in our heads what we are supposed to do, but the reflexes of old programming overcome reason. The Bible tells us that when we come to Christ, we are a new a creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, no one pushes the delete button to erase old habit patterns that have been formed over time. Only through prayer and practice can we retrain our old ways and habits to form new godly reflexes that will reflect the nature of Christ.
Dear Lord, why do I do what I don’t want to do and not do what I want to do? Help me train my spiritual reflexes so that my initial reaction and response to every situation is a reflection of Your character and Your ways. In Jesus' name, amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Romans 7 and discover Paul’s struggle with his knee jerk reactions.
What did he say was the answer to his problem of not doing what he knew he should do and doing what he knew he shouldn’t do? Hint: It is at the end of the chapter.
What do you learn about changing your default reactions to godly reactions in 1 Timothy 4:7-16?
More from the Girlfriends
How are your knee jerk reactions? What is your emotional default mode? If you would like to learn how to act like the new creation the Bible says you are, then check out my book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You. It will help you to learn how to live fully and free!
Originally published Thursday, 04 July 2013.