Alert! Alert! Alert!
Modern-day cell phones have those built-in 'public safety alerts'. Why? We want to avoid the harm associated with the warning or be on the look-out to help someone who is in danger themselves. The purpose of a warning is to give us sufficient notice to prepare or be 'alert'. Even when I take my car into the local auto shop to have them fill my tires with air and rotate them every 5000 miles or so, they check the tread and general condition of the tires. This simple practice is designed to alert me to the potential of uneven wear, possible sidewall damage from road hazards I did not recognize, or wearing tread that may result in the need for new tires. They are concerned about safety. They know I will come back when I recognize the need for new tires - sometimes even before I truthfully need them. I take their warnings seriously - because they are the experts! Why is it we don't take other warnings in our lives just as seriously? It isn't because they aren't delivered by an "expert", but perhaps it is because we are trying to be the "expert" in our own lives!
It’s urgent that you listen carefully to this: Anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider. This person has taken a giant step from the world of the dead to the world of the living. It’s urgent that you get this right: The time has arrived—I mean right now—when dead men and women will hear the voice of the Son of God and, hearing, will come alive. Just as the Father has life in himself, he has conferred on the Son life in himself. (John 5:24-27)
When Jesus takes up residence in our hearts, he expects to become the "expert" we trust and listen to uncompromisingly. The issue is us being asked for obedience and actually choosing to listen to the voice of the expert in our lives. Between thought and action there is always choice. It is kind of like the "dash" between two numbers. This "space" between thought and action may not be very long, but a lot is determined by what occurs in that tiny space! It is often the place where we choose to listen to the voice of authority (the expert), or we choose to live as the voice of authority (the rebel).
The voice of the authority is Christ. He puts it all out there for us to see, so there is no second-guessing his intention or purpose for our lives. It is urgent that we listen carefully to his words. As we all know, the space between hearing and listening is almost as significant as the space between thought and action! Hearing and listening are two entirely different things. One is casual, the other is focused and intentional. Jesus requires the latter. Belief should lead to alignment. We can attest to all kinds of beliefs, can't we? Christ asks for our heart's belief to align with our life's actions. In other words, when we say we put our trust in him, he expects us to actually do it. He is the expert, so we have to step aside and trust him to guide our lives as he sees fit.
Trust is the basis for relationship. As we align ourselves with Christ, we are coming into restored relationship with the heavenly Father. No other path exists to God the Father other than that of Christ Jesus. We take a step from being on a course with death into a lasting and permanent relationship with God's presence and peace. Life is not lived on our own terms. We may try to live it that way, but whenever we act as our own authority, choosing our own path, we find the "space" between thought and action doesn't always keep us from making wrong choices! Our thoughts may start out as good intentions, but they don't always end up in wise choices.
We have plenty of warnings, but we don't ask what they mean. If we did, we might just be kept from some pretty unwise choices which only end in "death" within our lives. It may not be physical death, but any form of "disconnection" from that which gives life is a form of death. Jesus' warning is clear - pay attention to the voice of authority in your life. It makes all the difference between life and death! Just sayin!