This idiom or metaphor in the post title has been used for many years. It refers to that place where two things come together or where a theory or idea is put to the practical test and accomplishes the goal. I think it is one many younger people today might not know, but for those of us of a certain age it is not unfamiliar.
One of those places “where the rubber meets the road” is when our words mean something, when the promises and commitments we make match the actions we take. Some of those promises and commitments get made too hastily because we are not looking at counting the cost and if they fit our resources of time, energy, skills and gifting, or even money.
Some promises can be what some call “pie crust promises”, ones that are easily made and easily broken.
Any of us can and do speak too quickly in giving an answer to a request, but when it becomes a habit and our follow-up does not materialize, our reputation slips and shows a gap in our character. To the degree and extent that happens, we fail to represent Christ in us. It exposes a weakness in integrity.
The short definition for integrity is that our words and actions match (“the rubber meets the road”).
We don’t need to look far or long to find examples; but rather than looking at all of those, we need to start by looking in the mirror and consider what we find there.
The Word is the perfect mirror for our examination. None of us should fear using that because we see we are in good company when we fall short. Consider Paul’s words in Romans 7:15:
“What I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”
In Charles Causey’s new book, Words and Deeds, he calls this personal integrity gap “the primary gap.” To the degree we are honest with ourselves, we may be aware of such gaps whether we easily admit them or not. But he suggests another gap as well that he calls the “perception gap.” Let me share his definition here to be clear:
“The perception gap is that area of our inner world excluded from our awareness; the perceived words and deeds of a man as he sees himself versus the words and deeds of the man experienced by others. This gap is what others believe to be true about a man, even though he himself may not see it or believe it to be true.”
Yes, the quote uses “man” because the book was written to a male audience, but the word “woman” can and does fit easily in the definition since women are not immune to the problem. We all have blind spots and as women we often desire to please and “be nice” without recognizing how that motive may or may not be focused on others and if it causes us to commit to do or be something that we should not.
We develop blind spots because we can never see ourselves 100% accurately. We keep them when we do not use the mirror of God’s Word or have a few close to us that know us well enough to keep us accurately informed.
There are also some foes that oppose us in our desire to walk in integrity or as Paul says in Ephesians 4:1 “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…”
One of the foes that oppose us is pride. Pride has the capacity to deceive us into believing we are better than other people. We would like to deny it, but if we think we have the better opinion, plan, attitude, or skill than most anyone else, we may see one of our blind spots. Charles Causey notes, “The struggle with pride is essentially a struggle with unbelief. To indulge in pride is to denounce the simple gospel message, to remove God from His rightful place.”
Another foe that sets us up is lying. I am not sure there is a man or woman on the earth who can plead totally innocent to never failing prey to lying or “telling a fib.” It is woven into our original DNA from the fall in the garden and sanctification takes quite a while after we come to know the Lord and may not be complete until He returns and we are wholly transformed. We are lured into lying for many reasons, but one of the most common is when we want to get rid of a problem or situation we are in the midst of with someone or something else. We fail to recognize that God is the audience we should be most aware of and it is He who desires we be authentic not only with Him, but with others as well.
Envy can also ensnare us along with greed and other “little foxes” seeking to “spoil the vines.” Thankfully, Paul comes to our aid again in Romans 8:1:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
There are also some tools I will mention next time that can reinforce our moves toward integrity despite our frailty.