Although I do have a few worship songs within which I whistle, that is not what I mean when I speak of whistling while you worship. What I mean is having a Christ-centered, worshipful attitude of heart when doing anything and everything in life. Imagine if all Christ-followers had the same positive attitude in everything as the seven dwarfs had while they worked. Okay, not the fairest comparison, but catchy enough. And yes, this is another of my attempts to expand the common Contemporary Christian understanding of worship from singing songs to a Spirit-led lifestyle of participating with Jesus as He glorifies our Father in all things.

Worship While You Drive

I begin this series with the one everyday activity I have the most trouble doing in a Christ-like way - driving. I hope you're not the person who flies by me in your SUV at 55mph in a 35mph zone, because if you are I've probably cursed you. And I'm sorry for slandering you, "Miss I don't have enough time to put on my makeup at home so I must proceed to apply it in the car and forget to go when the light turns green." And if you're that guy in the pick-up who speeds up and rides the bumper of the car in front of you because it goes against your manly nature to let me merge, worse thoughts about a human being seldom surface in my mind. Oh flesh!

(I suppose I should take a moment to thank those of you who have kindly waved me on, let me merge, driven defensively upon seeing our baby visor, and who generally prefer others before yourselves. I like you.)

Is there anything spiritually formative about driving? Surely, there is a way to follow Jesus on the road, and not just morons. This conversation isn't worth embarking upon if we don't view driving as a real life event, i.e., if the purpose of driving is only to get ourselves to and from places where we actually worship Jesus. But it is an actual life event with self-sacrificing, God-honoring potential. So, how do we turn this around to make it a worship activity? Well, a legal u-turn can be found in Galatians 5:13-26:

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."

1. Prefer one another. Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law, and His Spirit resides with us, freeing us to love and serve one another. As much as this means we ought to be as concerned and careful around others as we are for ourselves, this also means we must forgive others when they have been careless or reckless around us. Forgiveness is probably the hardest part of this for us to live out, but it may help us to recall how often we are in need of forgiveness for our own recklessness and how infinitely Christ has forgiven us for our inadequacies. This is not to say we need to be so defensive and cautious that we ourselves become a hazard, but rather drive with the perspective of Christ's freedom and forgiveness on our minds. If we do, we will naturally worship Him by preferring one another on the road.

2. Obey the law. Here we are not talking about the Old Testament Law that Christ fulfilled. Only Christ could obey that Law, and we are pardoned from its chains through Him. Rather, we're talking about the law of our land, which intends to protect us. This is not a law we have to strive hard to keep. Christ has freed us to serve and obey through Him. When we drive in this freedom, we will naturally honor Christ and our earthly authorities by keeping the law. As careful as we are while treading in the "presence of God" in more formal settings (church, etc.), we ought to tread with such concern as an act of worship everywhere we go, including in the car.

3. Drive by the Spirit. Look at the kinds of words Paul uses to describe walking by the flesh (above). Can you identify? Ashamedly, I can, especially with the language Paul uses at the top of the passage about being consumed. There are times on the road when someone does something so irritating to me, that I'm literally consumed with anger the rest of the car ride. It brings all kinds of stress and discomfort into the car, especially when my wife is with me. Now, look at how Paul describes walking by the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...if this isn't convicting in light of driving I don't know what is. Living out this fruit while driving will certainly lead to God-honoring driving and a genuine worship encounter with Him, but it can only happen if we have been made alive to the things of the Spirit, and we choose to walk by the Spirit.

Many people view church as "the" place of worship. However, a life of sacrifice - denying self and following Jesus - is tested and proven when we're not "worshiping" at church. It's hard, but we can worship God while we drive. At least once a day I have to sing out loud while driving, "Wor-ship-while-you-drive," followed by the dwarfs' whistle ditty. I literally have to force my flesh into spiritual submission. So, let us remember the fruit of the Spirit while we drive. If they're non-existent, that's a good indication that we're driving (and probably doing other things) in the flesh, and hence, not worshiping while we drive.

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