“I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them.” (4:17)
The life of a believer is to be lived focusing on the truth and the reality of God. A believer needs to hold to the knowledge that God is the creator and sustainer of our lives. God is supreme and his wisdom surpasses our understanding. His standard of righteousness is absolute and unchanging through all generations.
A believer must live in this world but not allow the things or the ways of the world to distract them from the big picture. When a person drives a car they are focused on the road and the activity outside the car. The driver looks through the windshield, not at the windshield. The safe driver can not look inside the car for very long without having some major problems outside the car. So it is in comparison with the life of the believer. A believer is inside the world but must be viewing life through the windshield of God’s revelation that has been given to man as found in the scriptures.
Paul says we must “no longer live as the Gentiles do” who have no view outside the windshield. They spend their entire lives trying to find direction and avoid accidents but they never look outside the car. Their whole focus is on the interior of the car as they speed through life. They have no perspective of God, eternity, truth, or reality. They are living in “the futility of their thinking.” It is easy to understand why, though. They have never seen or believed anything else. It is as if they are driving at night with the dome light on and the headlights off.
This is important to the believer for two reasons. Although we have accepted the reality of God and have, at least for a moment, looked up through the windshield long enough to realize we are speeding through life on very busy spiritual highway, we often continue to “live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.” We, too, spend the majority of our lives focused on the inside of the car and not on the highway. We are not looking through the windshield at the more serious issues.
Paul says, that he “insist on it in the Lord” that we live by looking through the windshield as we make decisions and evaluations.
One of the biggest challenges for the sincere believer who has lived their life looking at God through their windshield is when something strikes our windshield causing it to shatter. A disaster, a situation, something unexpected and undeserved comes from outside the car. It hits our windshield, disappears and leaves a fragmented, shattered windshield filled with distracting lines and breaks. This presents a new challenge for the believer who has been looking through this clear windshield at God.
Up until now the challenge was to either look through the windshield or look inside the car. This new challenge forces the believer to either focus on the shattered windshield or to continue to look through the fragmented pieces of the windshield at God.
We must realize, and know by faith, that your shattered windshield has not changed anything outside the car. The only thing that has changed is your ability to see it clearly and focus on it through the advantage of a crystal clear windshield. A crack in your windshield does not represent a crack in the kingdom of God. A shattered windshield is not a true representation of everything outside the car. A broken windshield is simply a distraction from the reality that is still outside your car and bigger than your life. Do not allow a shattered windshield to pull your attention back inside the car where you are forced once again to live in the futility of your thinking.