I have not done it for a good number of years, but I can remember being told that my car was out of alignment.  So I took it into the shop and they aligned the wheels so that my car did not pull to the right anymore.  It was nicer, and probably safer, to drive.  The problem is that about ten minutes after picking it up from the shop I did not see a giant pothole and once again my car was pulling to the right.  Pot holes in life have a way of knocking us out of alignment with the will of God.  They take our eyes off of the Savior and cause us to veer to the right or left.  Thankfully, God made it simple to find our way back to true center.  Simple but not always easy.

Listen to the advice that James gives about a pothole that might throw us off center.  “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’  As it is, you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil.  So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  Lets concentrate on that last verse that is meant to realign our thinking and behavior.  No one, except the Spirit of God through the Word of God, needs to tell us what is good to do.  We know so many right things to do.  We know what we should be doing or what we should not be doing.  The problem lies in the many excuses we find not to do what we know is right.

Our desires often keep us from doing what is right and good.  Our selfishness overcomes our desire to please the Father.  We allow the reactions or actions of other people to keep us from doing what is right.  Our arrogance causes us to think that we know better than God.  This passage is written especially to those who know God, know what he wants, and yet we do what we want.  That is the ultimate arrogance.  There are tons of other reasons, or excuses, we find for not doing right.  We don’t believe it is the right time,  We believe that we will be safer if we do not obey.  (Think about the courage it took for so many Bible characters who chose obedience over safety.)  No one else is doing it.  I will get to it tomorrow.  We are too comfortable.  No matter the excuse, the truth is that we know that God would have us do or not do something and we are failing in our obedience.  We are sinning.

This is pretty serious business.  Listen to Luke, “And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.  But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating.  Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” God the Holy Spirit may have been tugging on our conscience for a long time.  Convicting our hearts of what we should be doing or not doing.  We know what the will of the Lord is.  Fear, desires, laziness, or arrogance keep us from doing what we know God wants us to do.  We often find that we can hypocritically sing, “have thine own way Lord”, while holding on to one or two areas of disobedience.  We presume on the mercy and patience of God, even as we hear this frightening warning from Luke.  

The thing about potholes is that we don’t aim for them.  We often don’t see them until it is too late.  We know when we hit them and we realize the problems only when our cars begin to drive funny.  It is easy to ignore the consequences for a while, but eventually our tires wear uneven and we do more damage to our cars.  Same in life.  Sometimes something hits us out of the blue.  Next thing we know we are in a place spiritually that we never imagined we would be.  Our thinking became out of line with the thinking of God and we made a decision, or a group of decisions, that pulled us farther away from the Lord.  We know, have known for a while, what the right thing to do is but we have reasoned our way through our disobedience.  Time to realign.  Time to do the simple thing.  Repent and walk in obedience to the will of God.  Simple but not easy.

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