The Four-Wheel Drive Christian by Tony Cooke

The Four-Wheel Drive Christian by Rev. Tony Cooke

Having lived in Oklahoma since 1979, we never saw much need for four-wheel drive.  However, living in Colorado this past winter presented a whole new perspective.  There were several times when we would be driving tentatively (and prayerfully) in heavy snow, and we would be passed by confident drivers who had far better traction.  Their grip on the road was far superior to ours in difficult conditions, and they weren’t slipping or sliding the way we did at times.

What was the difference?  They had all four tires working for them, and we didn’t!

Spiritually speaking, God never intended for us to try to get through all of the challenges and difficulties of life with just one tire spinning, either.  We all appreciate having a specific “word” quickened to us when we need guidance or help from heaven, and such illumination from the Holy Spirit can provide an amazing amount of strength and comfort.

However, in the overall scope of our lives, God did not intend for us to embrace one specially “highlighted” Scripture (or theme) while ignoring the compreheAnsive counsel of God.  We are to look at Scripture from an integrated perspective, not from an isolated perspective.  Notice that Jesus said that man shall live, “…by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), not merely by selected or isolated words of God.

Let’s illustrate this.  The Apostle James demonstrated how various spiritual forces can and should work together cooperatively, especially in hard times.  He said:

James 1:2-5 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

We might say that James was encouraging every believer to be a “Four-Wheel Drive Christian.”  In this case, the four-wheels are joy, faith, patience, and wisdom.  One person said, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves never stands alone!”

We’ve all seen people endeavoring to “stand in faith,” but perhaps they’d lost their joy, or were not exercising any patience, or were not using wisdom in their life.  As valuable and as important as faith is, that’s not the way to get the best results in life.  These spiritual forces were designed by God to be complimentary, and they need to work together!

Joy is what gives buoyancy and “lift” to our lives as we trust God.  It is related to cheerfulness, gladness, and rejoicing.  According to Nehemiah 8:10, the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Patience (or endurance) is what gives staying power to our faith.  We’d all love it if every desired result in life was instantaneous, but we know that often there is a process involved.  I believe that’s why Hebrews 6:12 tells us that it’s through “faith and patience” that we inherit the promises.

Wisdom is what enables us to make accurate and precise application of our faith.  Some people say they are trusting God, but their very words, attitudes, and actions (or lack thereof) are totally undermining the results they say they are believing God for.  Because of a lack of wisdom, they are sabotaging their own potential success.

Faith, as we know, is a powerful, God-given force.  But God still ordained that faith in our lives be surrounded and supported by a number of other spiritual forces.  Paul and Peter both promoted this cooperative approach.

Romans 15:13
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:5-8 5 …giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are several ways we can look at this.  We could call these “the cooperating powers of God.”  We could call it “the faith team.”  Or we can simply aspire to be “four-wheel drive Christians” who get good traction and are able to keep moving even in turbulent times.

Our prayer for you is that you are developing comprehensively in the various components of biblical spirituality, and that you will continue to abound in the manifold grace of God.