Sunday, April 28, 2019

Slip-proofing life

I know people who walk around the wet floor signs - faithfully! I guess I am just a little less cautious because there are times I find myself plowing ahead, looking at the floor, observing for wet spots. Why is there such a difference? Perhaps those who go around believe the signs mean what they say! I might actually think they may have been there a while and just don't apply any longer because the floor 'looks dry'! Why do they place their trust in them? Maybe it is because they have nearly fallen in the past and have learned a very valuable lesson. You never know - the one who points out the sign may have insights beyond your own!

So watch your step, friends. Make sure there's no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it's still God's Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn't slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we're in this with Christ for the long haul. (Hebrews 3:12-14)

We are inundated with signs all around us as we walk, drive, shop, and play. The crosswalk now advises us to walk or stay - not just to rely upon the sign. The road signs advise of speed limits, but those ones that flash your speed get you to slow down a lot more, don't they? Signs announce hazards in the road and delays in traffic, but do we wait till the last minute to merge over, or find a different route? The store shelves and windows boast of huge savings and new products. The images displayed in those 'signs' draw us in, desiring to make us 'consumers', not just 'viewers' of the object. We "take in" lots of the signs in our path and process them - some consciously, and others quite unconsciously.

We are being "warned" to watch our step, because it is easier to get "tripped up" than we might realize! The idea of stumbling is represented here - we find ourselves going along just fine until all of a sudden something in our path makes us stagger and possibly eve fall. It is the idea of making a "slip" in how we normally respond - acting out of what is common character performance for us. For example, most of the time I can be pretty laid back, intuitive and introspective about life's challenges. Then, almost without warning, one hits me hard and I respond with fear, edginess, and doubt. What made the difference here? It is often something as simple as being "tripped up" by what was right in front of me that I just did not notice.

Most of the time, we get "tripped up" because we just did not notice the signs all around us. We had plenty of "warning" of the impending "obstacle" or "hazard" in our path, but we simply did not pay attention. At other times, we just don't heed the warnings! We think that they don't apply in this situation. Both of these responses to the "signs" are equally dangerous for us. Being in a situation in which stumbling is likely means that we are walking unsteadily - we have the opportunity to slip or blunder. So, what is the remedy? We keep each other from "blundering"! You and I need "buddies" who will keep us from those slips and falls when we are in danger of ignoring or not even seeing those signs given to us as warnings. There is strength in numbers. I may not see the warning signs - but you might. You might not recognize the dangers in your path - but I can. When we are faithful to hold each other accountable - pointing out in love what we so desperately need to pay attention to - we both benefit. You are made stronger - I am made stronger.

Slips, mistakes, and blunders cost us dearly. Isn't it good to know that God has given us others with eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mouth to share what we cannot, or simply refuse to see or hear? Each slip or fall in life "slows us down" - we have to regroup from those missed steps. Regrouping takes time and energy that would be best spent on other things. When we avoid the blunder in the first place, it is much better. Just sayin!

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