Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Faith on the Frontstretch: The Motives of a Racer’s Heart

Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”     ~ Hebrews 12:1b

The Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway last Sunday ended with Joey Logano in Victory Lane. But with only a few laps to go, Matt Kenseth was leading, with Logano on his tail. As the duo headed into Turn 1, Kenseth blocked and Logano tagged his rear bumper, spinning him back to a 14th-place finish.

Not surprisingly, the two drivers had opposing perspectives on the incident. Logano said it was just hard racing, denied intentionally turning Kenseth and described the event as two drivers wanting to run the same line.

“With 15 to go I got to the outside of him down the backstretch, and I had to lift not to wreck both of us at that point, and then kind of got put in the same situation down the front stretch, and then we just happened to go in the same corner and we both went for the same piece of real estate,” Logano said. “I wanted that middle lane and so did he and we collided there. He ran me hard, I ran him hard back.”

On the other hand, the driver of the No. 20 thought Logano spun him on purpose.

“It was really cut and dry. He picked my rear tires off the ground and wrecked me, so there’s no debate about that one,” Kenseth stated. “It’s the end of the race and I was trying to stay in front of him the best I could ... I didn’t do anything wrong to him. He just chose to spin me out because he wanted to be in the top groove instead of going left and trying to race me for the win, the way a man should do it really.”

Race fans offered strong opinions on both sides, too. Some folks believed Logano meant to wreck the No. 20. Others thought it was just a racing deal.

There’s only one person who knows whether the wreck was intentional or just hard racing, and that’s Logano. He alone knows what his true motives and intent were in that split-second when he inched his car forward. No matter how vehemently fans argue one way or the other, no one else knows what was in his heart.

Well, almost no one. God knows. That’s the thing about God. No one can hide the truth from Him. Not you, not me. He knows every subtle thought that flits through our minds. He sees the intentions of our hearts, whether they’re selfish or kind. He knows when we’re being nice just to get something or when we’re genuinely moved with compassion and love.

It’s hard to have pure motives, isn’t it? Our pesky human nature makes it really difficult. But God is deeply concerned with our motivations. He wants us to have a sincere faith and a desire to please Him, even with our private thoughts. Proverbs 12:2 says, “A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.”

God sees the motives of human hearts, race car drivers and fans alike. None of us can be pure and humble in our own strength, but God stands ready to cleanse us and mold our hearts to be more like His. Why not seek His help? Use these verses of Scripture as a prayer:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.    ~ Psalm 51:10-12 (NKJV)
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“Faith on the Frontstretch” explores the role of faith in motorsports and runs every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month during the NASCAR season. Follow Beth on twitter at @bbreinke.

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for NASCAR fans. Or you can purchase the book in paperback & ebook here.

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