We have all heard the excuse about having good intentions. We want to do the right thing. We have every intention of doing the right thing. We just, for some reason, don’t follow through. When we set out to do what is right it takes faith, courage, strength and wisdom to accomplish the task. How are we doing in following through on our intentions? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

You have heard it said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Do you know why that is true? It is true because we don’t follow through. Somewhere along the line our actions create a different result than our intentions.

Just coming back from Bristol reminds me of so much of how we intend one thing yet the result is different. That famous line from that still so popular driver, I didn’t mean to spin him out, I just wanted to “rattle his cage.” Dale Sr. talking about the spinning of race leader Terry Labonte on his way to Victory Lane. I am sure his intentions meant absolutely nothing to Labonte.

In the heat of the moment it is difficult to restrain ourselves. It is difficult to follow through on the best of intentions. We want to, but the fact remains, we don’t. We have heard it several times in a post-race incident interview, “I didn’t do it intentionally.”

Now I should point out here that I have heard drivers say they did it intentionally. That doesn’t make it right but they do get points for honesty.

When we have the intention to do something and it is the right thing, what causes us to choose to do something different? Let me suggest a few things, pride, getting even, anger, fear, etc. The list is long. We are overcome by our selfish desires and they reverse our intentions. Oh, we reason it out and feel that people will forgive us for this one little lapse in judgment. You know the saying, “it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” We spend too much time thinking how we can do the wrong thing and get away with it. We should be focused on doing what is right and treating people right.

It takes courage to do the right thing. It also takes faith in God. Let me explain, when we choose to do what is right we expose ourselves. We open ourselves up for others to see, some will ridicule us for being soft and wimpy but that is not true. In fact we are being gracious and merciful. Two things God is with us.

Look at this scenario, you’re on the track racing as hard as you can, peddling for all your worth. You make a mistake and drive it in too deep. You have two choices, the right one is to lift and brake, keep the car low, allow the outside cars to pass and then regain your position by racing back through the pack. The wrong thing is to keep your foot in it, wash up the track, hit the guy outside of you and as a result leave all kinds of carnage in your rearview mirror as you drive away, saved by the car on the outside.

The postrace goes something like this, “I thought I could make it, washed up a little, but that’s racing.”

The truth be told, you made a mistake and you refused to do the right thing with the hope you could deal with the consequences of you actions. It happens all the time. One thing is true about people, we will not change until we can’t deal with the consequences of our choices.

Let me put that a different way, racers won’t respect each other until they realize that the consequence for their actions cost them the race. There are many options officials have to change a driver’s tactics, a black flag, sending them to the rear, suspending them and even requesting that the get professional help before they return to the track to race. The responsibility for using these options fall on the race officials and I would hope their intentions are right when they administer these penalties. Let it be said though that unless discipline in enacted the competitors will not change. I believe it has to cost us something before we are willing to admit our actions need to be changed.

I have seen all these work to varying degrees. I would prefer that we could all act and drive in a manner that is right, but I know that is wishful thinking. Read the driver’s prayer many of you have in your cars. In it we ask God to direct our actions so that those actions would honor Him. In many cases our actions only honor ourselves and God isn’t even in the picture. I can assure you of one thing, God will not bless actions that do not honor Him. When we start acting on our good intentions and we respect and value those we compete with, then and only then will the blessing come.

I was reading a passage this week from the book of Acts that demonstrates that acting on good intentions will bring not only blessings but also, miraculous changes in someone’s life.

ACTS 3:1-10, One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 

  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

A couple things to note, Peter commanded the attention of the lame beggar; he intended to help him, not in the way the beggar expected but in a much more substantial way. Peter reached out and touched the man, having faith that if he reached out and helped him up that God would do the rest. God proved faithful and healed the man.

This is pretty dramatic and you may say that’s great but God doesn’t perform miracles like that today. I would disagree. I know, in fact, of several lives that have been changed because we reached out and helped someone up. I know of a racer on the modified tour who was headed in the wrong direction. He was disciplined and we were asked to step in and help. We did. We put our trust and faith in God that we would do the right thing and honor Him. We reached out and helped that driver out of the situation that crippled his diving ability. He responded by winning the rookie of the year and now is contending for the championship. He, like the beggar, had faith to get up and stretch his legs. His new found strength supported him and he soon learned to run and jump with joy.

When we are motivated by the right intentions and we have our faith in God that He will work things out, we will receive His blessing. Not every day will be glorious, we will still need to learn how to use our new legs, but God will walk with us, guiding us through and letting us lean on Him when we need strength, encouragement and love.

Let’s take a look at our intentions this week, are they honoring to God? If so, do we have the faith, courage, strength and wisdom to act on them? Do we even have a relationship with God to know what the right intentions should be? My prayer for you this week is that you would have the best intentions in mind in every decision that you make, and that is to please God. Let that intention guide your thoughts, words and actions this week, Amen!

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.