I have a friend from India who grew up there driving on the left side of the road, as has always been their customary traffic flow. Five years ago, he moved to the U.S. and had to learn to drive on the right side of the road. He said it is challenging to turn onto highways, enter high traffic situations, merge onto ramps, and your brain remember to stay on the right side, when for so many years, the natural way was to drive on the left.
As he traveled between his home in the U.S. back to India and throughout various countries of the world on business, he had to adjust back and forth between the left and the right. Now, his brain is able to know the proper side of the road to drive in a specific country and can successfully navigate traffic with no issues.
This re-training of the brain in the physical world of driving is much like the transformation of the mind we undergo in navigating the spiritual world when we make a decision to be obedient in a new area.
The brain (flesh) is trained to drop into the same old “lane” and just go with little thought. Sin patterns are established in this way. Behavior is automatically set to do “X” without thinking. But then the Lord convicts, we respond, agree to obedience, and the new “lane” is presented where we must now re-train our minds in how to “drive.”
Does this feel strange at first? Is it work? Is it frustrating? Can you “forget” and go back to old ways? Certainly. But learning to drive in a new lane takes focus, alertness, and commitment.
Here’s the ironic thing about navigating our lives differently … When we choose the Lord’s way in any area, it is actually best to just scoot over and let Him take the wheel. The Holy Spirit becomes the Driver. Then we can actually pay attention to the life passing by.
Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. —Matthew 16:24 MSG