During a long drive on the interstate, I came to a narrow construction site: on my right was a large truck, to my left, the guardrail. Both were very close. Since I was still a novice driver, I asked myself: “What is the best and safest way through this, without scraping the truck or the guardrail?” Suddenly, a thought came to my mind: “Just look straight ahead at the road! Do not look to the right or left!” Of course, looking to the left or right, or trying to orient myself with the truck or the guardrail would put me in great danger. I made it safely through the construction site by just looking at the road and orienting myself within my lane.
The construction site was behind me, but I busied myself with the thought “just look straight ahead” while I continued driving. It became a good lesson for me. In our lives, we also align our actions, our behavior, and even our decisions with something. How do we orient ourselves? Do you, as a believer, perhaps also base your life strongly on the world or conversely, on people in the church? We know that sooner or later, the orientation towards unbelievers will get us off the right track. We can get in the habit of doing certain things “because that’s just how it’s done today” and at first may not realize that God is not pleased with this, and that it can gradually get us off the right path.
But what about people in the church? Is it bad to orient ourselves to experienced spiritual brothers and sisters? No, we can be thankful for our brothers and sisters (young and old) who are a role model and blessing to us. It is certainly good to appreciate and accept the experiences of others, learn from them, and seek advice from our brothers and sisters. But it can become perilous when we lean too heavily on, and allow ourselves to be influenced by, one person. It is as if we just “swim along” and do not have our own foothold. We have to keep in mind that the best role models are only human. With one small disappointment, one misstep from our role model, we could lose our orientation.