In 1997 author and Frank Sinatra biographer Bill Zehme gave us one of the most definitive looks inside the life of Ole Blue Eyes in a book called, The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Living. It’s an adventurous (though somewhat crude and offensive so I don't recommend it) read which provides an intimate glimpse into the life of a complex and often misunderstood man. The premise behind the title is what has grabbed my attention in recent days, the idea being that the way you wear your hat (or do whatever you do) says a lot about who you are.
As followers of Jesus we need to pause regularly to examine how we “wear our hats” and what it reveals about the character of our Christ-likeness. Scripture says,
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45 NIV)
This is true of the words we say, the actions we take and those actions we leave undone. Maybe a good place to begin the self-examination for most of us is with the first task most of us undertake after walking out the door in the morning - the drive to work. I think there is a lot to be said for how we drive our vehicles and what it says of our character. After all, the attitudes of our hearts are often laid bare when we are cut off in traffic.
But it goes beyond just our reaction to something someone else does. For example, do you find yourself always having to get to the front, even if it means crowding others until they get out of the way? How fast do you go in relation to the posted speed limit? Why? If you said that you are typically over or well over the speed limit, is there really any justification for this as a Christian unless conditions are forcing it? What about using turn signals. obeying passing zone restrictions, tailgating, and coming to a complete stop at stop signs?
The truth is, every one of the traffic issues I just mentioned are rooted in selfishness. The further truth is, Christians often have as much disregard for the law and the people on the highway around them as everyone else.
So here’s a thought. Maybe we could harness our own driving (or speaking, playing, working, etc.) habits as a tool to speak to us about the hidden condition of our hearts. If you catch yourself speeding, ask yourself if it’s because you simply don’t care what the law says, don’t care about the people around you, don’t pay attention, or maybe feel that if no one’s looking or there to get hurt, who is really affected. The same questions can be asked of our tendency to tailgate or weave in and out of traffic to force our way to the head of the line.
If these kinds of actions are coming out in our daily routines, then I suspect they exist in other areas of our lives as well, including our spiritual lives. As Christians, it should never be our attitude that the law doesn’t matter, that others should not be considered, or that anything we do really doesn’t matter. So, how’s your driving?