Ignoring Warning Lights In Your Car
It’s happened to all of us at some point. It’s maybe even happening right now to you: a warning light turns on in your car.
If you’re old enough, like me, you once drove a vehicle that wasn’t powered by a computer chip. Back then, the “warning lights” were warning sounds—a screech, a grind, a rumble, or a rattle. Today, you’re alerted by a flashing light or mysterious icon or error code that pops up on the dash that you haven’t seen before.
Immediately you know something is wrong. Fear and dismay set in. You grab the owner’s manual and flip through the pages to discover what the hieroglyphics mean. Is it safe to finish this current journey? Is this the beginning of the end for this car? What’s the cost going to be to fix whatever the problem is?
At the end of the journey, however, you arrive safely at your destination. The next day, the car turns on without a problem, and, despite the light flashing on again, you get from Point A to Point B again without any sense of danger.
Maybe it’s just a computer glitch, you think to yourself. The car feels smooth to drive. It’s probably not that big of a deal. Before long, the days turn to weeks, maybe even months, and you’ve trained your eye to no longer see the warning light that greets you every time you turn the car on.
I am convinced that spiritually, this is precisely what happens to us as Christians living in a fallen world. Every day, we should see warning lights flashing. Things are not okay! Danger is imminent! Something needs to be fixed!
But instead, sin has become such a familiar daily sight that we have trained our eyes to glaze over it or look the other way. Life is relatively comfortable enough, and the journey has been safe enough so far that the realities of life in a fallen world have become acceptable or even ignored.
The result? We quit paying attention. We’re not on high alert. We’re not motivated to act.
Meanwhile, the Bible is explicitly honest and filled with warnings. Not only do you have historical stories that drip with blood and are stained with greed, betrayal, and perversion, but you also have diagnostic description passages like Ephesians 6:12.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Or Romans 3:10-18:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Have you grown so comfortable living in a fallen world that you are driving with the warning lights on without any sense of concern? Things are not okay around us or inside us. What feels “normal” should assault our eyes, ears, and conscience.
Living on high alert makes us much more likely to sense danger before it strikes, leap into action to help others, and seek the wisdom of the One who wrote the owner’s manual for life.
Paul David Tripp
1. What are a few simple things that are “of this world” that you are ignoring or procrastinating? Maybe it is the warning light in your car, taking care of yard work and home improvement, or not canceling a monthly subscription you never use. Why haven’t you taken care of this yet? What might happen if you delay even more?
2. Identify a relationship that has been displaying warning signs recently. In what ways has it soured or failed to produce the fruit that a Christ-centered relationship should? Are you refusing to address an area of your own shortcoming? Are you delaying confronting in love? What practical steps can you take to try and address the issues?
3. Identify an area of your personal spiritual life that is displaying warning signs. Perhaps your disciplines of faith, such as reading the Bible, praying, or attending church, have declined. Maybe you are growing increasingly comfortable with a sinful habit or idol. Do you feel more distant from and less in love with the Lord? How long have you been ignoring or downplaying these struggles? Why should you address them now?
4. What are the warning signs that you are wrestling against spiritual forces of evil? Reread Ephesians 6:12 and other similar passages. Do you disregard the power and presence of the Enemy and his desire to devour you (1 Peter 5:8)? How can you be sober-minded, and what should you watch out for? Be specific in your current season of life.