Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We Give Thee But Thine Own"1 (Lyrics)
One Saturday afternoon, my car suddenly shut down; all the yellow warning lights flashed at me. Conditioned by a similar problem last year with another car, I focused on the battery lights, as I knew that I had just put gas in the previous day. I had the car towed 180 miles to the nearest dealer that would service my warranty. Thankfully, I had insurance for this three-hour tow.
Late that night, it dawned on me: I did not put gas in the previous day! The sequence of events replayed vividly in my head: I had pulled up to the pump, put in my credit card, and put the nozzle in the gas tank. Then, I got distracted with cleaning my windshield and never flipped up the gas pump lever to start the gas flowing. When I returned to the pump, I saw a dollar amount, noticed that it had shut off, and assumed that my tank was full. I couldn't get a receipt, but that often happens. When I got in the car, my fuel light was still on, but since I knew that I had just filled up with gas, I assumed that the gauge was broken. I had driven around over the next 24 hours with the fuel light on, till the car finally quit running.
The warnings were obvious. I should have seen them. Making wrong assumptions and ignoring warning signs and lights caused me much frustration, irritation, and ultimately, embarrassment.
There are many obvious warnings in the Bible that we ignore, sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally. The following familiar Scriptures provide counsel and warning about living the Christian life. But like I assumed that I had fuel, how often do we assume that we know all about these and don't focus on them?
Watch our speech: "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." (1 Peter 2:1 NIV)
Watch our attitude: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3 NIV)
Watch our anger: "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8 NIV)
Watch our worries: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
Watch our money: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." (Hebrews 13:5a NIV)
It's important to pay attention to the Bible's warning signs, to focus on God's Word, and to absorb His thoughts, guidelines, and commandments. Then, maybe we won't be figuratively stuck on the side of the road, wondering why our life is "out of power".
Prayer: Father, help us to dip into Your Word daily, to interact with it and with You. We want to know what You want for our lives. Help us to pay attention and to focus on what's best for us and those around us. Thank You for being such a gracious, forgiving God. Amen.