Have you ever looked at yourself as a wreck? Has your life ever resembled a 10-car pileup, all banged up, twisted, and dysfunctional?
Paul described it perfectly:
I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [Romans 7:22-24]
The primary strategy of the devil, this depraved, sinful world, and fallen human nature is to delude, deceive, distract, and destroy the unwary, unsuspecting, and naïve. Listening to their voices wrecks many lives. Ambition, fear, insecurity, lust, greed, anxiety, doubt, unrest—all these voices clamor for more and more attention. And it’s humanly natural to question or blame God for the dings, dents, and smash-ups along life’s road. Yet, the truth of the matter is this: individual choice, conduct, conversation, and character are the culprits. We choose how we will behave and to whom we will listen, all of which develops and reflects character.
Too often we settle for the wretched excuse of Romans 7:22-24 instead of the victorious sacrifice of Romans 12:1-2. Yes, the struggle of the Christian experience is real. But we don’t have to stay and wallow in it. We can recognize it, move on, die to ourselves daily, present ourselves as living sacrifices to God with renewed minds, and walk in the transformation He alone gives [2 Corinthians 3:18].
Analogy of a Car
To understand the foolishness of excusing ourselves by blaming God for the outcomes of our lives, consider an analogy. Imagine each person is a brand-new car coming off God’s assembly line. He created us, fashioned each part intricately, integrated safety features, set the specifications of engine components and speed limitations, artistically finished the paint scheme, detailed the car to His plan and purpose, then wrote the owner’s manual for us as drivers. See, we don’t own the cars. God does [1 Corinthians 6:19- 20]. He just lets us drive them for a little while.
Now consider driving your car off the lot. Head held high, cruising at a safe speed, windows down, singing along with the music, enjoying life. You regularly check the owner’s manual. Maintain the right tire pressure and keep them balanced. Ensure all fluids are maintained. There’s nothing better than new-car smell and everything humming along just right.
Changing the Design
Then one day, you decide to change the paint scheme, something darker with a cool drawing on the hood. Someone suggested this bright color just isn’t you. Maybe jack up the back, install air shocks, exchange the original design for something more in style, maybe even runner lights and better sound system.
Listening to surrounding voices, you start thinking, Maybe I’m not really a car? Someone suggested maybe you’re a railroad car. So you change things and load up with all sorts of stuff. Disregard the max load according to the owner’s manual because the manufacturer could be wrong, right? And that blinking warning light? Probably just a mistake. No need to worry about that. Besides, they make car fluids much better these days. The manufacturer couldn’t have known about modern advances when your car rolled off the line.
Maybe fear overcomes you so you limit your speed to 15 miles-per-hour. After all, you’d hate to blow the engine, right? Or run off the road? You might go so fast you escape the gravitational pull of the earth! Yes, the owner’s manual outlines appropriate speed, but your influencers are going 15 miles-per-hour so, shouldn’t you?
Before you know it, your car is an unrecognizable wreck. You’ve painted it to please others. The suspension and transmission are destroyed because you listened to what others said about what type of car you have. Your tires are wearing thin because of the heavy load and not being maintained or balanced. The engine is down two cylinders, barely clunking along. You’re kind of embarrassed with the car God gave you to drive. Foolishly, you complain to God.
Making Excuses and Placing Blame
“God, why did you make me like this? I don’t understand. What did I do to deserve this? I can’t drive this wreck? Everyone thinks I’m messed up. I simply cannot function like this!”
Imagine God’s response.
Seriously? You’re blaming me?
Listen, I made you. I designed you according to My omniscient wisdom and precise specifications. In My omnipotent power, I drafted you to handle life’s turbulence and resistance. To help you properly handle and maintain your car, I gave you specific instructions. I did everything necessary to fit you for the purpose I intended for you [Psalm 139:1-16].
Who told you that you were a railroad car? Why did you listen to them? Who suggested your fear of speed? What made you listen to their nonsense? Who said your paint scheme was too bright? Look at you! I didn’t design you like this!
You’re right, you are a wreck! But don’t blame Me! I did everything necessary to make, position, empower, instruct, and protect you. It was you who doubted My instructions, questioned My intent, suspected My design, ignored My warnings, disregarded My safety features, and listened to others who have no clue about you or how I made you.
Now that I have your attention, shall we start over? Will you trust Me, listening only to Me, obeying Me, and using this car according to My instructions?”
You won’t enjoy a smooth ride until you first let go of everything holding you back [Hebrews 12:1], willfully releasing everything that conflicts with God’s Word. Only then can you break free to run the race set before you. Release your grip, open your hand, give your wreck to God, and don’t look back as you move forward.
Thankfully, we can celebrate the same answer Paul found: “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” [Romans 7:25]. Trust God. Read and apply His Word. Ignore the worldly voices and influences. Surrender your desires to His will and purpose. He knows what’s best for you.