Traffic: why what you see on the road is a barometer for America's spiritual aptitude
Updated: Apr 3, 2018
We're not sure who thought of it or heard it first, but Pastor Brian and I for several years have made the connection between the behavior we see on America's byways, highways, and major and minor thoroughfares, with how we're doing as a country spiritually. Generally speaking, we're not doing well, and it's evidenced by the way we drive. To prophets a lot of things tend to be prophetic, or at least we allow them space to be. We're so used to God speaking in unconventional ways, we ask the question: why can He not speak through something like traffic? In my experience, as we stand in the year 2018, nothing is more quintissential (save possibly the news media) of our spiritual climate as a country than our behaviors, tendencies, and reactions in our cars. Let me explain what I mean.
Above all else, it reveals your heart - I've said it before, and perhaps I'm being too strict or judgmental (if I am, please forgive me) but if I'm a hiring manager on my way to an interview and I'm behind someone weaving in and out of traffic, passing on the right, and running red lights, and that person ends up being my interviewee for a post I'm looking to fill, that interview would be over before it started. That type of behavior is telling, minus perhaps a medical emergency or similar catastrophe. It shows that you cannot submit to authority, (the government or municipality that sets traffic regulations) and that you don't care about other people (taking unncessary and dangerous risks in traffic jeopardize other people's safety).
To summarize: it reveals your heart. Proverbs 4:23 says to guard your heart, or to "keep watch," or "preserve" it, for out of it springs the issues of life. Traffic and driving will reveal if you lack patience and it will reveal if you're quick to anger. It will also reveal if you regard others as more significant than yourself...or not. (Phillipians 2:3)
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." PROVERBS 4:23 - NIV
What about other people? Dan Mohler offers a perfect response to the twisted view of "favor" that some hold, where they're especially blessed with green lights and prime parking spots, apparently because God is pulling strings for their personal benefit. What about the person waiting behind a red light or the family without a front-and-center parking space? It's only a question but if you allow it to sink in, you may begin to disbelieve that "favor thing" if you believed it before. The principle Dan brings up here is true about traffic and driving at large: what about everyone else on the road? Is it characteristic of a Christian to drive and act, while in transit, like the greatest on the road, or the least? Must you be first, or are you humble enough to be second, third, or even last? Our decisions on the road will reveal if we're selfish or selfless.
I see people nearly every day endanger those around them with illegal and reckless acts on the road. Maybe they're late, maybe their frustrated with being delayed, or maybe they're distracted by their smartphones. Either way, whether they recognize it or not, they're showcasing their hearts: they're saying 'IT'S ALL ABOUT ME.'
This is the condition of 2018 America, though. Culture, social media, the family dynamic, and many more factors promote self or even group above one another. Culture teaches that it's all about us and it's merely representative of culture, with its strong anti-gospel opinions and leanings, that our driving is, in effect, deplorable, lawless, and unsafe.
The fruits of the Spirit
These, according to Galatians 5:22 & 23 are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control. In the age of road rage, habitual phone-checking, and umatched impatience and hastiness while driving, our resume on the road falls way short of our Galatians 5 assignment. This assignment is the standard, not an exercise in wishful thinking. Realizing, then, the huge gap between this list of fruits, which are born of the Spirit, and what we produce on the road, should be very convicting.
It's an exhibit for lawfulness OR lawlessness
The word that always comes to my mind and heart when seeing what I see on my commute is 'lawlessness.' It's a condition of the end time world. "Lawlessness will abound & the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12)." Lawlessness abounds on the road, folks, and it has several forms, but it does come back to the content and the produce of the heart. We can't change the age we're in, but we can, with the help of the Godhead, transform our hearts.
I realize now that I have no appeal for you to drive safely or wait your turn in traffic more often, but this appeal I do have, and it files in with Brian's strong message from Sunday: check your heart. Examine it. Allow God to temper it and purify it. Be in a state repentance if you need to be, and make every decision in light of eternity.
- Joe D'Orsie - Communications Director