Back in 1974, an effort was made to force people to wear their seat belts. To enforce this, the plan was to prevent their cars from starting until people had buckled up. As you might imagine, this pitch met heavy resistance and frustration from car owners, so the idea was tabled. While no one is “forced” to wear their seat belts today, it is a well-known fact that seat belts save lives. Today, 90.4% of people wear a seat belt (NHTSA).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury. Seat belts saved 14,995 lives in 2017 and hundreds of thousands since their introduction (ibid).
Why would anyone resist wearing a seat belt? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that people do not like to be told what to do. Even if it is best for them. Even if it means saving their lives. This stubborn mindset filters into most areas, including our spiritual lives. Some people simply do not want to be told what to do spiritually, even if it is by God Himself in Scripture. Whether we agree or not, whether we understand it or not, God has our best interests at heart.
In the Old Testament, the people probably did not understand why God prohibited them from drinking blood (Leviticus 17:10-13), but today we understand that disease is carried in the blood. The Israelites probably did not understand why God commanded against the eating of animals like pig and cow (Deuteronomy 14:3-8), but today we recognize that these animals are hard to cook adequately to kill off the dangerous bacteria. There were likely many other commands God’s people did not understand or agree with (i.e., idolatry), but it was vital that they obeyed anyway. Today there may be some commands we are opposed to, but God is righteous and God is just. Every one of God’s commands was given for good reason, even if we do not know the reason.
No matter our attitude and disposition, a day is coming when everyone will be judged by the words and commands God has given us (John 12:48). When we follow these commands, we put on our spiritual seat belts. We cannot be in God’s vehicle (the church) unless we are properly buckled up (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21), and we cannot move forward with the vehicle unless we stay buckled (2 Peter 3:17; Hebrews 12:15; Revelation 2:10).
We need to have our spiritual seat belts securely fastened. With our souls on the line, will choose to spiritually buckle up?