The non-steering wheel

2 Corinthians 3:1-18: Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life….Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

I read an account of a family enjoying rides at an amusement park. The account said of the family, “They were in tiny cars, Janine furiously and resentfully steering to avoid hazardous and inconsiderate drivers, when her husband tapped her on the shoulder and said, ‘Your steering wheel doesn’t actually steer.’”

As Christians, we need to remember that our steering wheels will not point us toward salvation. We fall victim to the “ministry of death,” as Paul describes it, when we think that our behavior earns us salvation. Before Jesus’ time, the people thought that perfect obedience to the law not only honored God but earned something with God.

With the coming of Jesus, though, we learned that we are saved by the grace of God, not by our own actions. We do glorify God through our compassion; we demonstrate clearly that we have been infused with the Holy Spirit when we act with virtue and kindness. Still, I have to think hard to remember that my behavior is not a cause of the life of grace but its result.

So I could afford to hear those words of freedom every day. “Your steering wheel doesn’t actually steer.”

Psalm 37: 1-18; Deuteronomy 4:32-40; Luke 16: 1-9

Copyright 2023 by Carol Mead.  For noncommercial use and sharing only. For more information on this ministry, and on a free subscription to these meditations, please contact the author by email (

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