In my pedal car, I went wherever my little legs would take me. I imagined flying down the highway so fast, I worried about being pulled over. But most of the time, I toured bumpy country roads. Having fun was my driving force.
Psychologists tell us we are driven by one of two forces—either pain or pleasure. They say we want to avoid pain even more than we desire pleasure. Those statements seemed logical, but I had trouble applying them to my own life. Maybe they were true for most people, but they didn’t seem exactly right for me.
Athletes endure great pain in training. Why? Maybe their driving force is pleasure found in the pursuit of whatever reward they imagine. That doesn’t explain why we make sacrifices when there is no possible benefit in return. Some might be motivated by the pleasure of feeling good about themselves, but that still leaves cases of extreme self-sacrifice, when people choose to die for what they believe. What would be the pleasure in that?
I believe there’s another important force: “purpose.” For the purpose of pleasing God, I might ignore either pain or pleasure—or both. Oh, great. Now I have another problem. How can I know if what I’m doing is what God wants, not just what I want?
“Put God in the driver’s seat,” the preacher said.
I was happy to hear how others have been successful doing that. But it hasn’t worked for me. For some reason, God won’t be my chauffeur. He won’t do my driving, no matter how much I beg.
Could it be that the Holy Spirit was sent to be our guide, as if he were a kind of GPS, and the driving is left to us?