Updated: Jul 18, 2019
"Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury."
Romans 2: 4-8, NIV
This summer I have been blessed to take a few road trips. Trekking around to a variety of special occasions, like weddings and baby showers, I have had time to take in the beauty of God's creation and see His natural revelation. While each season has its own particular attractions, summer is golden. God's creativity glows through summer wildflowers and hot sunny days. His presence radiates.
Road trips are also educational. Recently, I noted an interesting case in point. Cruising along on I-96 in Michigan, I was passed by woman putting the pedal down in her minivan. Even more remarkable than the speed she was hitting was her vanity plate.
It read, simply, SELFISH.
Well, there you go. Either this woman is amazingly transparent about her struggle with self-centeredness, or downright proud of it. Whatever the case, she has put it out there for all the world to consider.
Her plate got me thinking. In my humanity, I'm the dead center of my universe too. Dead is the operative word here. Everything filters through my heart and mind in terms of how it affects me, impacts me, or makes me feel. Like those t-shirts that were popular a few years ago, in my flesh it's all about me. I never really thought about buying a vanity plate to publicize it, but it's true. My natural selfishness reeks of death and earns me God's wrath and fury, according to Romans. My own experiences confirm it--the path of my selfishness is a dead-end street.
Yet as one who has been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, my flesh is not in charge anymore. His Holy Spirit rules my life, and ideally, my actions (Romans 8). This means I'm in a daily battle. My flesh provides one perspective--the wisdom of my Savior calls me to another one. My challenge is to look to Him before automatically listening to myself. Sometimes I win this battle, and many times I lose it. It will be that way until the day I meet Jesus. I pray, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I'll be able to fight better as I gain battle experience. We shall see.
Wondering now about a vanity plate. Mine would have to say FIGHTIN'.