You know when I was 18 years old, I bought my first car. It was a 1986 Chevrolet Eurosport. Black and silver with red trim. Now the car wasn’t all that great, but to me it represented freedom! I was 18 years old, with a car, and no limits. I was excited. I drove around for the first few months and then BAM…it happened. “A blinking light” Have you ever had those before? Especially the one that says “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” That’s the one that I got. For days, I tried to see what was wrong but didn’t find anything. So I got to thinking, ‘it’s a malfunction that triggered the light to remain on. So in trying to not be annoyed by the light, I got a piece of electric tape….and covered the light on my dashboard. Mission accomplished. I have ignored the annoying issue and I can be on my way. Awesome! But evidently, that didn’t work. My car would need a major repair later on. All because why? I ignored the warning signs.
You know, in our Christian lives….in our daily walk with God….God gives us “warning signs” as well. Now they not be a “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” light but these warning signs are brought before you for a reason. The real reasons for the signs may not be revealed until later but they do ask you to do something, rather than ignore it. God may be asking you to do several things: (1) Its time to make a change (2) Its time to seek for help in your situation (3) Its time to ACT before it’s too late.
One of the first earliest warning signs that God gave to us was from Adam & Eve’s time. Where the Lord warned them both not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 2:16-17)…but while they knew of the warning, they ignored it which led to “sin”.
The next example was used through their children, Cain & Abel in Genesis 4:2-8.
2 “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 “In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.”4 “But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering”5 “but on Cain and his offering, He did not look with favor. So Cain was angry and his face was down.”6 “The the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry?” Why is your face so down”7 If you do what is right, you will be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is
waiting for you..it WANTS to have you to do wrong, but you must control it”
And we all know how that story ended up…
8 “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Lets go out to the field.” And while they were in the field Cain attacked and killed his brother Abel”
God sent a warning in Verse 7. He said “Cain, if you do not do what is right, SIN is waiting for you and it wants you to do wrong..you must control it”… But Cain missed the warning…he didnt control himself, and eventually it led to sin…Cain had put some “electrical tape” on God’s voice, so to speak.
- This is why marriages a destroyed….God warns us about something….and we ignore it
- This is why friendships are destroyed….either one or both miss the warning signs
- This is why families are broken up….we do not pay attention to the “blinking lights” to warn us
The lights and the warnings are recognized AFTER its too late….
So how do we as Christians listen and recognize our “warning signs?” There are several ways:
(1) Gods Word at the right time
Have you ever noticed sometimes when you go to church, you had just experienced something bad and you are seeking a way to get over it. And when you get into church, the pastor preaches a sermon that felt like it was exactly designed for YOU? God speaks to us at the right time, when we need it.
Or sometimes, when we are around friends or family…who do not know what we are going through at the moment. And a conversation pops up that is exactly the same as your situation and God uses the people in that room to give you the answer you need. God speaks through people to speak to us at the right time, when we need it.
(2) Example of Others around us
It is interesting. Long after Cain had murdered his brother, Abel. Long after Cain himself had passed away. People in the New Testament were warning people NOT to be like Cain. In 1 John 3:12, “Do not be like Cain who belonged to evil and murdered his brother”
People were warning others not to follow Cain’s way. Sort of like today, “Dont do things your way, do it the way God would want you to” Have you ever had friends who did something and it turned out to be a big mess? And when it was your turn to do the exact same thing, you started to do the same routine that your friend did UNTIL someone warned you, don’t go that way…go a different way. We learn from the mistakes of other people and follow the examples of the ones who do right in God’s eyes.
(3) Positive Words from Others
Many of our friends sometimes see the “warnings” before you see them yourselves. For example, a relationship that is starting to become serious, your friend finds out that your date is misusing you for wrong reasons. Should we value the feedback of our friends? Sometimes they hurt, sometimes they help. But God uses people to share positive words with us to help us improve something.
Or maybe God uses people to give you the right words at the right time. Or maybe God uses people to help you to realize whats more important at that time.
When I was 9 years old, I had written my father a letter that was for Father’s Day. While I was at church with my mother, my dad would stay home and had no interest in church. In Sunday School, the kids were asked to write a letter to our fathers. Here is what mine said:
“Happy Father’s Day, Dad”
“I want you to know that Jesus loves you”
“I want you to go to heaven with me because if you don’t I will miss you”
“All the other’s kids dads go to church, why can’t you come too?”
“I love you so much”
God had used me to give a warning sign to my dad. To invite him to church, to witness to him, and to show love. later on that year, my dad had come to church and he had accepted Jesus as his personal Savior.
Sometimes God will send a pastor to help or a friend. But sometimes God will send a child too. Maybe your own children.
What are some of the “warning signs” that your friends KNOW about and has warned you about but you have continued to ignored?
- Drinking problems that is coming in between your relationship with people?
- Gambling problems that is causing financial stress on your family?
- Bitterness and anger towards a person that is causing you health problems?
- Having no accountable partner for your porn addiction problems?
- Marriage problems that is causing you to be more distant from each other?
Many early warning signs are there and easy to recognize, do you have some “electric tape” on it to ignore it?
(4) Bad Experiences that God allows to Happen
This is something that no one wants to experience but unfortunately, it has to happen sometimes. Ignoring the warning signs , we will end up experiencing something bad and God tells us, “this is only a small part of what it will be like if you continue to ignore me”
For example, you have a great job…..It takes all of your time, you are always tired…never having time for family, friends, church….your wife/husband is always upset about you working more hours…and then it happens…you lose the job. While you may be upset at God for the moment…maybe we need to understand that maybe God allowed it to happen before it got worse for you… God gave you early warning signs when you was not at home as much as you should have been…your family missing you, your kids missing you….your responsibilities at church were not being done because you was too tired or had to work that day. God knows whats best for you and allowed you to not go any further in that direction. He took you out and brought you into a new path.
Proverbs 20:30 says it all…”Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways”
Sometimes God allows small damage to happen before the BIG damage happens..
here are some questions for you to ask yourself today to help you think maybe you are ignoring some “warning signs”
- Is your life so busy, that you need to slow down?
- What is the top priority in your life now?
- When’s the last time you had a real one-on-one time with God?
- Are the friends you hang out with, are they “godly” people?
- Do the friends you hang out improve you as a Christian?
- Are you spending your money the way God wants you to?
- Do your friends know that you are a Christian? or are you like them?
- Parents…are your kids hungry for your attention?
- Are your kids missing you at home?
- Whats preventing you from spending more times with your kids?
- Are you teaching your kids about the Bible?
- Are you praying with your family?
- Marriages…is your relationship stressing?
- What is causing that stress in your relationship?
- Have you sought help for your situation?
- Are you ignoring your problems to make each other happy?
Friends…God is speaking to you now….
“But if you do not do what is right, sin is waiting for you..it WANTS to have you to do wrong. but you must control it” (Genesis 4:7)
How do you control it? How do you get past your feelings? How do you relieve all of that stress?
This can be done in two simple steps:
- TRUST IN GOD
- Remove your “electric tape” off of God’s warnings.
Ready….Set…..Go…. may you be blessed in your next step….