Are you good at heeding warning signs? Or do you ignore warnings, figuring they're just part of life's landscape, things to be ignored?
Warning Signs Are All Around Us
There are signs telling us not to enter, beware of the dog, and avoid high voltage areas. Traffic signs warn us to slow down, watch sharp curves, and beware of ice forming before the bridge. We pump gas and see a picture of a police officer warning us not to steal gas. A tall bear with a ranger hat tells us to help prevent forest fires. The list goes on.
Throughout our lives, we hear, see, and obey thousands of signs put there to prevent us from experiencing physical harm or even death. Most of the time we notice and obey them without thinking, unless of course, they prevent us from doing something we really want to do, like diving into a refreshing swimming pool clearly marked, “No Diving.”
God Gave the First Warning
The warning signs we tend to not notice and ignore are inner signs, warnings about our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The first warning of this kind was spoken by God in the Book of Genesis when he warned Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die?” (Genesis 2:16-17). The death he referred to was an inner death. Adam received the knowledge of good and evil, bringing on guilt, and allowing evil into his soul.
God Also Gives Us Warnings
The Old and New Testaments overflow with warnings, many times explicit and other times through stories, parables, and poetry. He provides the cautionary signs related to these warnings in our mental, emotional, and spiritual overall well-being.
There is a balance between our mental and emotional states when our overall psychological well-being is at its optimum. When we process information correctly and express feelings correctly based on that information, it’s a winning team.
The mechanics of this psychological balance is beyond the scope of this reflection, but when the balance disturbed, warning signs emerge that need to be heeded, some of which may be external, affecting our physical health and overall wellness.
Protecting Our Relationship With God
Our spiritual well-being is God’s primary concern. He made us to know him, to love him, and to serve him. We will only have spiritual perfection in heaven, but if we are not well off spiritually in this live, our relationship with God is compromised. How do we know when this happens?
The conscience is an inner feeling or quiet voice that tells us when we cross the line from right to wrong. God has given everyone this early warning system, but as Christians who have Jesus Christ as their personal savior, we also have the Holy Spirit to help us hear that inner voice loud and clear.
Listen to God's Words
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13)
To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it. (Jeremiah 6:10)
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13)
Also read: Ezekiel 3:17-19, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, Hebrews 2:1
In the Words of Others
“Our emotions have the power to distort our reflection, what we feel becomes what we see, but it does no have to become what we believe.” Hannah Blum
“The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of principles to be obeyed apart from identification with Jesus Christ. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us.” Oswald Chambers
Think About It
Have you ignored any mental and emotional warning signs over the past five years? If so, why? How has this affected your overall wellness?
How have you dealt with warning signs regarding your spiritual well-being over the past five years? How has it affected your relationship with God? How do you feel about this?
Recall times when your conscience, with the “nudging” of the Holy Spirit, has warned you about crossing the line from right to wrong. Note times you listened and times you didn’t.