I am writing this article on March 1, knowing that any day now Ange will sneak into my office when I’m not there and put the April calendar on my desk, meaning that it’s time for me to write another opening article for the newsletter.  So I’m just trying to stay ahead of the game.  But there’s another reason why I’m writing this article now and that is because I came up with an idea in the middle of the night last night. Now you might be wondering why I was awake in the middle of the night.  Well, I would imagine that most of you were because although our weather this winter has been quite unpredictable what with all the warm temperatures we’ve had, last night the month of March predictably came in like a lion as thunderstorms coupled with high winds and even a little bit of hail raked our area and spawned a number of tornadoes that did major damage throughout Illinois and other Midwestern states.

So what was the idea I came up with last night?  Well, about 2:45 a.m. our weather radio went off and scared the living beejeebers out of me.  It then blurted out a thunderstorm warning for a couple of counties south of ours.  So lest it do that again and interrupt my much-needed beauty rest, I pulled the plug.  No sooner had I done that that our weather took a real turn for the worse with very strong winds and heavy rain that lasted for quite a while.  In fact, I even thought about plugging my radio back in to see if we were under any warnings, but my dear wife was sleeping soundly through it all and I really didn’t want to wake her.  Plus I expected it to end any time.

Well, while I was lying there listening to the roar of the wind outside hoping that the shingles would stay on our roof and the house would hold together and it wouldn’t get any worse than what it already was, it dawned on me that I had pulled the plug on the one warning system that we had in our house to alert us to inclement weather.  Probably not a very wise thing to do, right?  Especially in the light of all the tornadoes that hit different parts of Illinois, Missouri, and the Midwest that night.  Actually I wasn’t aware of those until the next morning, but still, it isn’t wise to disconnect yourself from your main warning system.

And yet, that is what so many people do in our day and age, spiritually speaking.  Actually, we have a couple of warning systems that God has given to us.  The one is built into us and we call it our conscience.  The Bible calls it the Law of God that is written on our hearts.  It’s a precious thing to have because it lets us know when we are stepping into an area that is outside of God’s will, an area that is displeasing to Him.  I like to call it that still small voice inside of us that sometimes gets to roaring rather loudly when we go against it.

But not all people heed their conscience.  And the problem with that is that the more you ignore your conscience, the more you weaken it until finally you do what I did with my weather radio and you pull the plug on it altogether so that it no longer acts as the warning system that God intended it to be.  Once that happens, then it’s so easy to rationalize our sinful behavior.

  • The teenage girl who caves into pressure from her boyfriend who wants her to show him how much she loves him. At first the guilt she experiences is overwhelming, but the more sexually active they become, the more it desensitizes and deadens her conscience.
  • The employee who has fallen on hard times financially and finds himself stealing from his employer as he rationalizes that he needs the money more than his boss.
  • The faithful church member who misses worship one week because the family took a mini-vacation over a three-day weekend, only to miss again the following Sunday because they stayed out pretty late at a wedding reception the night before, only to miss the next Sunday because someone gave him tickets for the Cardinals ballgame. Though he had some twinges of guilt when he missed those first couple of Sundays, the more he missed, the easier it became, and now he just can’t seem to get back into the habit again.

So heed your conscience lest it lose its power to warn you.  But also pay attention to the warning system God has given us in His Word.  The Bible is full of warnings like Ezekiel 18:20: “The soul who sins shall die.”  Or how about Galatians 6:7-8: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.”  And of course, the more you read His Word and hear His Word and study His Word, the more in tune you become with that warning system.  And the more you discover and delight in what God has done for you to rescue you from all those times you have failed to pay heed to His warnings and have chosen instead to do your own thing and go your own way.

That’s really what this time of the year is all about, isn’t it?  Our focus during this Lenten season has been upon the cross without which we would have no forgiveness, no reconciliation with God, no peace, no lasting joy, no hope of a better life after this one.  But because of the cross and because of Christ’s resurrection victory that we will be celebrating in a few weeks, all of those things and much, much more are ours.

So thank God for His warning systems.  Keep them handy. Stay plugged into them.  And allow them to mold you and shape you into the kind of Christ-follower who will be strong, steadfast, and able to stand tall against the stormy blasts of temptation that your 3 greatest enemies – the devil, the world, and your own sinful flesh – will bring your way sooner or later.

Celebrating the goodness and greatness of God this Lenten and Easter season!