"...holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith." (NIV) 1 Timothy 1:19
This past week, my husband's car ended up in the shop, so they gave us a "loaner" to use while they fixed it. It's a very nice new car, with all the bells and whistles. As we were driving along, Juan said, "Look - they have sensors all over this car to ensure you are safe. It senses when you are going over a yellow line and warns you. It senses when you want to make an unsafe lane change and warns you." He was right - this car warns you about many unsafe driving choices.
It made me think of the many times I made unsafe decisions. Truly, they are too numerous to mention. These decisions were made for a number of reasons - many of them were reactionary, some of them were impulsive, and yet other decisions were made because I was a follower. It think back upon those unsafe decisions and now realize so much.
When I make decisions that are reactionary to what someone has done to me or the situation I have been put in, I typically don't take the time to step back from the decision and analyze it against what I know is good or right. Yes, these are the times I SHOULD be asking "What do you say about this, Jesus?" but usually there is no conversation with Him during these times.
Impulsive decisions are even worst - those decisions I tend to make without even THINKING. Yes, I just DO. Many times, these are decisions I make in regards to an unhealthy eating plan. I try to work hard and follow a plan that I know will produce good results, but my impulsive decision to just DO without thinking puts me into trouble. These are the times when I should be asking, "Help me Jesus to make a different decision," but usually there is no conversation with Him during these times.
Engaging in decisions because I wasn't strong enough to do what I knew was right, but followed those who were wrong, has happened more times than I want to admit. Why didn't I stand up for myself, my values, my beliefs? Why did I go with the flow - use poor language, gossip when I shouldn't have, etc? There are many examples here. These are the times when I should be asking, "Help me to be strong, Jesus, to walk the way YOU want me to," but usually there is no conversation with Him during these times.
I am sure by now you have noticed the theme. There have been many opportunities when I should have stopped to converse with my Lord. In each of these situations, there were plenty of warning signs to make me stop - a conscience filled with the Holy Spirit to assist me on this journey of life. These warning signs, given to us by Jesus, are there for us to stop and understand that an unsafe choice may be coming ahead. Our conscience is there for a reason - for us to stop direction and reach out to the One who gives us all that we have. He knows that if we make good decisions based on our strong conscience, we will not be "shipwrecked", we will follow in His path.
Join me in the week ahead to be aware of the warning signs - to be aware when the Holy Spirit is working in us to tell us something, to teach us something. When these warning signs are there, stop, and have the conversation. I know that the blessing for us will be very rich - for it always is when we speak with Our Lord.
"Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit living in us. May we ensure that we recognize the warning signs when they appear and help us to converse with you, leading us to safer decisions. In your gracious name we pray. Amen."