A couple of weeks ago, I headed to the post office. I always know during that time of day, there’s going to be traffic jams on the interstate and major roads. For a while now, I have noticed a road that appears to run parallel to I-65, but I rarely see anyone driving on it. It’s not an access road and there are several places that it disappears from sight, so I keep wondering if it’s an option for me to beat the traffic. I decided that today was the day I would see where that road goes.
I turned onto the wide, two-lane blacktop, see the 40 MPH sign, note that no one is on the road but me, look over at the poor schmucks going 5 MPH on I-65 and smile to myself. I’m enjoying the scenery and thinking that I will be coming this way from now on. So stinkin’ smart!
After about 2 miles, I glance over to see a 25 MPH sign. Surprised by the 15 MPH change, I let off the gas and look forward again, only to see a policeman standing in the road—in my lane with his radar gun up—motioning me over.
As I pull over, I realize I also have no insurance card with me. Minutes later, I drive away with two tickets—speeding and inability to prove financial responsibility . . . But it gets worse.
As I make my way back on the road, I quickly discover that all the roads in this area only exist to get you to the neighborhoods there and don’t have any access south—they’re all just loops that lead back where I started.
This past week, I went in to the City Court office, showed my proof of insurance proving “financial responsibility,” and paid my $129.75 for the speeding ticket. So that deviation from my usual path cost me time and money. Got me less than nowhere.
Now, it really is tempting to accuse of a speed trap, rant about a sudden change from 40 to 25, and even why there wouldn’t be an outlet from that area to go south. But the real truth is, I blew it with entertaining the “wonder where that road goes” question.
Okay, here’s the point of this story.
The road I saw was a deviation from my normal route. I kept looking at it until the curiosity finally got to me. The last thing I thought when I made that decision was that I would waste time, end up back where I began, and it would cost me . . . But that’s exactly what happened. Funny how we can’t recall what the problem was with the “old road” at those moments.
When we decide to deviate from the path God has us on, when we take the second look, give in to the temptation, and take the path toward sin, then we set consequences into motion. When we realize our disobedience or when we’re caught, we go to God and show Him our “proof of coverage.” “Lord, I’m your son, covered by the blood of Jesus,” to which He says, “Yes, you are. No condemnation.” “But Lord, I did sin against You, so please forgive me. I’m guilty,” to which the Father replies, “Yes, son, you are, and I forgive you, but your consequences stand. Now go and stay away from the “short-cuts,” the roads you “wonder about.”
Let me ask you . . . are you staring at a “road” right now and “wondering where it goes.” Tempted to see if it’s a short-cut to success? An experience to satisfy your desire? To meet the need? Fulfill the fantasy? . . . Fill in the blank.
Are you being tempted to go down a wrong road? Are you trying to rationalize the trip? Or maybe you’ve turned down it already, but haven’t gone too far yet to trigger much consequence. Regardless, stop. Turn around. Stay on the path you know that leads home. It’s not worth it.
Because one day, one of those roads could cost you everything.
So be very careful to act exactly as God commands you. Don’t veer off to the right or the left. Walk straight down the road God commands so that you’ll have a good life and live a long time in the land that you’re about to possess. —Deuteronomy 5:32-33 MSG