I was driving through a new construction zone on a four lane road in my neighborhood. To accommodate the work crews, a new set of white lines was painted on the pavement to direct traffic around the work areas.
The detour curved to the left, then to the right. Orange cones lined each side like prison bars. The message was clear. Stay in the white lines or your car was going to be a construction zone casualty!!
As I paid extra attention to where I was driving, carefully watching the freshly painted white lines to keep on course, I watched all the other cars doing the same thing. We were all obedient, like little arctic lemmings following the lead of another we did not know, in this case, sticking to the plan of a master road engineer who had figured the scheme out ahead of time. I felt a bit controlled, actually, but figured I was doing the right thing.
Then I thought about the “white lines” other powers, so-called, in this world draw for us to follow with threats of “or else” if we don’t obey.
For instance, consider medical claims to authority. These pretenses to power draw prolific white lines for people to follow. “Take this pill, or else. Get this check-up, or else. Follow this procedure, or else. Do what I tell you, or else.” And orange cone types of threats, warnings, and dire predictions line the way to remind us not to swerve or detour from the prescribed course of action. Other “white lines” to follow might include other people’s expectations for us, time-honored traditions for our family or church. Or maybe we do things because that’s the way we’ve always done it. We’re following the white lines, we affirm. “Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?” We mindlessly repeat.
I looked beyond the orange cones and noticed expanses of pavement and space to drive in safely if one missed a curve or swayed out of the white lines. The threat of trouble if I veered astray didn’t feel so ominous anymore. I thought, “Sometimes we need to drive out of the white lines and knock over a few orange cones to keep ourselves from driving down a path that is not in our best interest to follow.” Deviating was not wise in this situation, but I resolved to be sure in the future that I didn’t let influences planning against my best interest draw any kind of white lines for me to follow.
The dictum of Scripture is clear, “The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deut. 6:4). To stay safe and preserved from unforeseen trouble, we need to follow God’s direction, God’s guidance, and not the beliefs, opinions, and views of others who want to draw white lines for us to follow that may take us to the last place we want to be.