Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Tale of the Learner Driver

There once was a foolish, Learner Driver who decided he could ignore his Driving Instructor whilst steering his car down a narrow, country tree-lined, lane. To his detriment, he decided that he need only correct his steering once every two minutes for surely it was wiser to have one's hands free? For what did the Driving Instructor know? Surely one does not need to have one’s hands constantly on the wheel, making thousands of constant imperceptible corrections whilst driving down a simple, country lane?

So with his hands off the wheel, he began, only to discover that before the first two minutes were complete, he had driven his car into a tree.

The above is a simple, silly, little tale, that Jesus used to show me my previous attitude to bible reading and prayer. I was the foolish learner driver who chose to ignore the Driving Instructor’s wisdom and proceeded down a narrow lane without my hands on the wheel. 

What do you mean you say?

I ignored the simple instructions God had given me about how often I needed to read and study my bible.

“Blessed is the man...whose delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.” Ps 1:1,2

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

Day and night. 

Each day.

Duh!

Quite simple really, but I in my pride had previously come up with a myriad of alternative instructions to myself about how often I needed to read the Word of God for guidance and correction, and none of them matched Jesus’ instructions to me.

Hence I had a crash, for I couldn’t stay on the narrow path, when I didn’t follow the Master’s instructions.

This is not some quick 5 minute glance at the Word, day and night, each day, either. For one can’t meditate on the word of God in a flash. It takes time. A lot of time.

“Meditate” in Hebrew means to ponder and study. To think deeply about something, to the point that you are muttering to yourself in your musings as Vines would have it. This is not a quick 1 verse a day approach to the bible that some commercial devotional materials take. It just isn’t enough.

If I were studying Medicine, I would need more than a paragraph a day of a medical text to become a very good doctor. We all know that. The word ‘study’ inherently means a lot of time. 

Then there’s that whole 10 000 hours principle that’s talked about which portrays the concept that to be very good at something you need to have at least spent 10 000 hours doing it. We all know this. 

We all know an olympian needs to do a lot of training, studying, imagining, pondering their sport to achieve that level of excellence. Yet few of us apply this principle to our Faith.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Cor 9:24,25

And so I have learned to meditate on the Word day and night, each day.

I ignored the simple instructions Jesus gave of how often I am to pray and commune with the living God. It caused me to crash.

 “Pray continually.” 1 Thes 5:17

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1


‘Always’ and ‘continually’ are strong words. This is not some bedtime ‘now I lay me down to sleep’ prayer routine. It’s way more than that. It’s a continual, daily conversation with the living God, a constant checking-in on how things are, bringing our wills in-line with His.

We have the prophet Daniel as a perfect example.

“Now when Daniel leaned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Dan 6:10
Daniel prayed 3 times a day.

Daniel prayed on his knees.

He faced Jerusalem in obedience to the Law, for those in exile. (1 Kings 8: 46-51)

It’s really not that complicated. Yet once again, I had made up an alternative recipe of how often I needed to pray and in what manner and my life showed it.

So....

Don’t make the same mistakes I did. 
A crash hurts.
You don’t want to be a spiritual car wreck. 
Stay on the narrow path.

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