I recall a young power-chair-bound teenager, Joy by name, who loved raspberry-picking, no matter how difficult it was from her chair. Most people underestimated her and didn’t go with her on her journeys into the woods adjoining the nature trail. Her chair itself was commanding in that it had enough power to go 70-80 m.p.h. (just kidding), really 7-10 miles an hour over pretty rough terrain, honk people out of its way (or run over them if they had pressed the issue), and carry 300 pounds to boot, though she was maybe 78 pounds all wet. Yet the chair, however commanding, was not the commander!
Joy would ask people to go berry picking and people would dismiss the request, not having time--or whatever. However, Joy rolled up to my camper and asked if I wanted to go. So off we went. She was Rambo in disguise, and her power chair was the tank. We got berries along the paved path, then soon a little farther off the path, then even a little farther off the path. We got berries from bushes so remote and thick that Brer Rabbit himself would not have wanted to be thrown into them by Brer Fox! Then suddenly, a sort of intentional tap on the control lever for “just one more berry” sent her roaring into the thicket and the soft ground. My stars, she was mud bogging like the professionals! She threw mud 40 feet (seemed like it to me, but more likely 4 feet); but she ended up stuck tight, with just the wrong soft touch of the control! The lever got struck by a berry branch! We did ultimately get out and laughed about it, with the exploit getting bigger every time we reminisced. However, it was no laughing matter at the time, though it serves as a good example now.
The control lever is a great example of how the power chair is only able to go where the one in control directs it. Even the softest touch can make it go where you want, and sometimes that same soft touch can direct you where you would not want to go. You can end up where you really don’t want to be when you finally stop! In a master's hand the chair is awesome; but without the proper controller, it can have devastating consequences.
Like the one in control of the lever, we as people of the Lord are commanding, powerful, and talented. Yet we should allow the soft touch of the Master’s Spirit to provide direction where He wants us to go. We may choose to softly touch the control ourselves (take matters into our own hands) and go where the Spirit did not intend, ending up where we did not really want to be. We, like Joy, may be after “just one more berry”. We may give a little tap on the control that ultimately pushes us off the track God has for us.
Galatians 5: 7-8, 13-19, verse 7 states, “You were running the race so well.” (operating the control lever by the Spirit’s power). Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. For you have been called to live in freedom (use of the control lever is yours because you are not a spiritual robot), my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. (The best way to operate the control lever is by living according to the Spirit’s direction!) “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” (The conclusion is in verse 18.) “But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the Law of Moses (of sin, death and needing to fulfill the whole law). When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (you will not lose your salvation but you will lose the fruit of the Spirit’s leading thereby not inheriting the benefits of the kingdom).
You say to yourself, “This is not what I really intended; I just planned to comfortably stray a bit.” It is important to remember this statement: “You are only one step away from taking the step that will take you down a path you would likely never have chosen if you experienced the ultimate outcome in advance.” You think, “It will never happen to me. I will not get caught, or it will not captivate me because I won’t go that far.” The Bible warns about the law of unintended consequences: “Be sure your sins will find you out” (Nu. 32:23) and “What you sow, you will surely reap” (Gal. 6:7). You are now standing where you never intended, far down the path you just toyed with. “Now you probably would give up all you gained along that path for the opportunity to just not have taken the first step!” You find yourself in the berry patch of life, getting scratched, torn, and battle-scarred, while damaging the lives of those you love the most. All this happened for the sake of “just one more berry!”
A comfort for you is that you still have the control lever and can readjust the course. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There are consequences, yes; but forgiveness and redirection are within reach. Living by the Spirit’s power is the preferred lever action. Galatians 5:22, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (The choice is yours,) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
MEMORY HOOK EDUCATION uses everyday items as well as awesome ventriloquist puppetry and mind boggling interactive sleight of hand magic to share biblical and life skill lessons. Due to space limitations here, check out MandMTeam.com and MemoryHookEducation.com web sites for more information on this and other trainings. Your comments, added illustrations and applications would be appreciated as well!