Are the fruits of the Spirit an antidote to road rage?
Have you been cut off in traffic lately? Have you ever been stopped at a red light, and then the instant it turns green a car quickly turns in front of you, violating your right-of-way? Do you frequently find automobiles dangerously riding your rear bumper? Or perhaps you are thinking, "Well, I'm usually the one doing the tailgating, but the people in front of me are driving far too slowly?"
We in the Western nations live in a fast-paced, automobile-dependent society. So many of us need to commute long distances to work or school—or, perhaps if we live in major cities—short distances that take a long time. According to United States Bureau of Transportation statistics, there are more than 250,000,000 cars registered in the U.S.—which is about one-fourth of all vehicles on the road worldwide.
Navigating several thousand pounds of iron and steel down the road, at speeds that can approach 70 miles per hour or above, is a big responsibility. People who take this responsibility lightly can cause terrible damage, and can even cost others their lives. One small mistake at the wheel could even cost you your life!
Over the 17 years I drove the congested streets of Los Angeles, I was involved in four automobile accidents—one of them major. I have learned that with experience comes a more defensive mindset. But many people today, even seasoned drivers, cannot help but show their NASCAR skills and drive way over the speed limit, breaking the "rules of the road" to be on time for the next meeting, or to get an adrenaline rush from their "need for speed."
If Jesus Christ walked the earth today and found Himself behind the wheel of a car, truck or SUV, what kind of driver would He be? How should today's Christians conduct themselves on the road?
God inspired the Apostle Peter to encourage us to follow Christ's example of perfect character: "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth'" (1 Peter 2:21).
Jesus Christ never broke God's law. In fact, He even made it a point to obey the legitimate laws of the secular government that ruled over the places where He lived and taught. And He taught us to do the same. The Bible makes it clear that Christians should submit to the governing authorities who reign over us, and warns that if we do not, we will bring judgment on ourselves (Romans 13:1–3).
I have felt that judgment personally, when a careless moment behind the wheel led to the destruction of my vehicle (but, thankfully only to minor injuries). If I had been more careful to utilize fruits of the Spirit—such as longsuffering (patience), kindness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22)—while driving, I may have avoided that particular wreck.
Christians should strive to walk with God daily—and, if we are behind the wheel of a vehicle, we should strive to drive with God, having the fear of God. We can make a huge difference on the road by obeying traffic laws that were created for our own safety, and by being courteous to other drivers. As we start our engines, let us remember the eternal words of Jesus Christ, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31).
Please request a free copy of our eye-opening booklet, The Ten Commandments. In it, Tomorrow's World Editor in Chief Roderick C. Meredith explains plainly from the Bible how God's laws living in us through the Holy Spirit can give us the spiritual guidance to truly love our neighbors as ourselves.