Friday, March 18, 2011

Warning Lights

I heard a story this week that seemed to be worth sharing.  A friend of mine (we'll call him John, 'cause that's his name!) was driving across Tampa when a light came on in his car warning him that there was a problem with his brakes.  He had major work done on the braking system less than a year earlier, so this little light really irritated him.  The further he drove the more irritated he got.  Finally, he folded up a piece of paper until it was just big enough to cover up the warning light, and he positioned it so he would no longer see the light.  Feeling much better, he continued his journey. For the next 3 days he drove with that piece of paper covering the warning light.  Then this past Tuesday as he started out for a meeting, John stepped on the brake- and discovered that it no longer worked.  He was able to avoid traffic and use the emergency brake to stop the car, so no one was hurt.  But it really put the fear of God into John as he hopelessly swerved to a stop.  His car is getting new brakes even as I write this.

Life comes with warning lights.  If we have health problems our body will signal to us that we need to see a doctor.  If we have weight problems our clothes cease to fit, indicating that we need to change the way we eat and exercise.  If we offend out friends and neighbors the sudden lack of communication from them often serves as a warning light.  We see these signals.  We know what they mean.  Yet we often choose not to see the lights.  We find our own little pieces of paper and cover them up..  

For Christians, it is no different with sin.  When we are tempted,when we face sin in our everyday lives, we are aware of what is happening.  The Holy Spirit, (ever the Gentleman) gives us little nudges like our own Jiminy Cricket.  Before we ever offend that person, say those words, look at those pictures or covet our neighbor's wife, we think about it.  We feel the Holy Spirit flashing the warning light.  And then we make a decision.  Am I going to stop right now and repair this situation?  Or am I going to cover up the warning light and proceed on my own?

Sin is very seldom about "the devil made me do it!"  Sin is more often a decision we make even as the Holy Spirit reminds us of whose we are.  We choose to cover up the warning lights.  My question for us today is this:  What is it we are using to block out the warning lights in our lives?  If we know and understand our own thinking, we might be quicker to heed the warning lights.  Maybe you minimize: "Look at how much worse HIS sin is than mine!"  And we hide the light.  You might feel entitled"I work so hard for my church, what difference will this one little sin make?"  And we hide the light.  We may feel discouraged and full of self-pity"I have already screwed up so badly- what difference will one more sin make?  Nobody really cares what I do..."  And we hide the light.  After a while we forget the light is even there, and our lives spin completely out of control.  I've been there.  It's a very scary thing.  Life is much better when we heed the warning lights.  The abundant life comes when we listen to the Holy Spirit.

But even in our sin, we must remember that there is one Light that cannot be hidden.  John 1 tells us that the Light (Jesus) came into the world and the darkness cannot overcome it.  There is no sin we can commit that will block out Jesus.  There is nothing we can do to separate ourselves from the grace of God.  We will, on occasion, choose to sin.  We will have all sorts of excuses and reasons as to why we made those decisions.   But in the end, the Great Mechanic- Jesus the Christ- is always there to repair our broken lives.  He does great work that gets us back on the right path.  And the best part?  It's not cheap, but it's always free.  Jesus already paid for it.

Because of Jesus,


  1. Thanks for this :-) Great reminder. I'm gonna follow this

  2. Thanks Matt. Glad to have you aboard! I hope everyone will follow your blog as well.

  3. Great post. I'm always making excuses. It's a very Romans 7 thing with me. Thanks for reminding me that it's really up to me to make the right decisions.


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