Caught in God’s Speed Trap

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What place pops into your mind when someone mentions being caught in a speed trap?  For me, it’s the small town above on highway 6 named Calvert, Texas.  After graduating from Texas A&M University, I moved to Dallas to start my career but my wife still had a year until she graduated.  Every weekend during that year I made the trek down to Aggieland passing through the Calvert speed trap.

I always made sure I was at least a few miles per hour under the speed limit as I approached the city limits sign.  I did not want to become one of the many stories I had heard from other travelers ticketed there.  I still remember one story about a lady who was pulled over and ticketed for speeding coming into town, and then she received another ticket for speeding going out of town.

God the Cosmic Traffic Cop

It’s funny, but this is a lot like the way I pictured God for most of my life.  I wouldn’t think much about Him during the week, but when the weekend rolled around and it was time to go to church I looked down at my spiritual speedometer to make sure I wasn’t breaking any of His laws.  I went to church wondering what God was going to bust me on that week.

I wasn’t striving to live up to God’s principles out of a sense of gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  I was trying to follow all the thou shalts and thou shalt nots so I didn’t get pulled over by God.  Just like I knew I would get a ticket if I was pulled over in Calvert, there would be no talking God out of a ticket.

I Hope You Get Busted

Whenever I approached Calvert and slowed my speed, inevitably, there would be someone that would pass me going well past the speed limit.  I don’t know if you’re like me, but my first thought was always, “I hope you get busted!”  It was ironic considering I was speeding most of my trip outside of Calvert.

When the Holy Spirit would work in my life to transform it in areas I had fallen short, I found myself doing the same thing.  I would look at the other hypocrites in the church and hope they would get busted by God so I could cruise on past without worrying about Him stopping me.  It was so easy for me to deflect the Holy Spirit’s gentle prodding by pointing out all of the other offenders.

Looking Up From the Speedometer

Now that I think about it, in my 100+ trips through Calvert I never received a single ticket.  In fact, I rarely saw a police car or anyone pulled over.  I also never paid much attention to the charming antique shops, restaurants, or historical landmarks of this small town.  I was too busy watching the speedometer.

It’s also been a very rare occasion that God has had to pull me over.  All of those Sundays at church looking for other offenders blinded me to all of the wonderful people who were serving God joyously making a real difference in the lives of other people.  I was serving too, but I treated it more like a community service sentence.

How Do You See God?

It took me an awful long time to realize that I had a really warped view of God.  Yes, God chastens those He loves (Hebrews 12:6).  Yes, God occasionally has to pull us over and write us a ticket.  This is only one attribute of God though.  He is so much more than just a cosmic traffic cop.

A.W. Tozer wrote in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, that

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.  The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.

He goes on to write,

… the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.

Tozer was absolutely right.  My mental image of God was that of a traffic cop setting a speed trap and I gravitated towards that image becoming more and more like it.  It was the same trap the Pharisees fell into in Christ’s time, and that so many Christians, like myself, have fallen into today.

Until I was able to see a truer image of God reflecting all of His attributes, I could not rise above being a traffic cop myself.  What about you?  How do you see God?  Are you naturally gravitating towards, conforming to, that image?

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Brad's Big Feet Marketing helps people on a limited budget enlarge their online footprint using blogging & social media. His other blog, Marketplace Christianity, examines faith's role in how we earn and spend money.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

David Rupert January 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm

A great title and concept…
Yes, I got caught. Several times. Even went to the slammer. But I’m still fudging on the speed…slow learner!

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Brad Harmon January 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Thanks David. I’ve found that I look at my spiritual speedometer now for better reasons than worrying about an upcoming speed trap. There are still times where I go too slowly through some trials and speed through some blessings, but I take comfort that my reaction time to correct my speed during these keeps improving.

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Daniel January 15, 2011 at 1:55 am

I like your analogy. Perhaps I am one of those that believes God sets the scenario and we must decide what to do. Let’s say my concept is quite different. And somehow I believe we are owners of our actions and consequences. Some things can be changes some other not. It is just a matter of applying some “speed” I hope you could understand. God is who provides everything we can do is part of his or her grace.

Good blessings to you.
Daniel´s last [type] ..Featuring Mens slipper socks reviews

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Brad Harmon January 15, 2011 at 3:37 am

I’ve gone back and forth in my thinking of life as some sort of cosmic boot camp or testing ground. There’s probably some merit to thinking of it that way, but as I watch my son grow up it’s taken on a much different and deeper meaning for me. I want him to be successful in everything that he does, and I am always there to step in when he needs me. I am his biggest cheerleader and protector, but I am also his referee and coach. On rare occasions, I will set up a scenario that teaches him some life principle. Mainly though, I just watch him proudly and teach them to him as he comes to them on his own. I think I am getting closer to the true picture, but there’s still much more God needs to teach me. Thanks for the comment Daniel.

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Walter February 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

For me, God is not like an authority guy who punishes those who disobeyed the law. I think of Him more as a guide the pushes us to our spiritual selves. We are one with Him and that’s what he wants us to discover. :-)

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Brad Harmon February 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm

It’s amazing how accurate Tozer’s quote is. How we see God changes so much about how we live our lives. Thank you for sharing your view of Him with us, Walter. I appreciate the comment.

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Lyka Ricks February 10, 2011 at 5:27 am

Your thoughts are amazing… As GOD is also amazing…. There are certain points of life’s destinations where we know God is with us. Though we sometimes tend to go the other way but his mercy and forgiveness is still there Geared and gas up.
Lyka Ricks´s last [type] ..What is Xvid

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Brad Harmon February 11, 2011 at 1:10 am

He’s always there waiting for us, isn’t He? Thank you for your great comment, Lyka. I liked your play on words with geared and gassed up.

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