I’m about to do a risky thing right out of the starting gate today. And no, I’m not about to engage in a verbal tirade about the demise of traditional values and common sense guaranteed to ignite a feeding frenzy in the carnivorous mob of “woke” trolls roaming every social media platform (although that might be fun). Instead, I plan to enter territory that can be perilous for husbands. I’m going to talk about one of my wife’s characteristics for a minute. And let me quickly affirm that it isn’t a negative thing. That’s not to say that she may not have any negative qualities. I’m just not aware of them.
Borrowing a Technique ~
In any case, when Diane is engaged in consultations, discussions, business interactions, etc, just as the interaction seems to be all wrapped up, she’ll likely say something like, “Oh, wait – just one more thing . . .” That’s because she has protective instincts on steroids. When faced with any significant decision, she’s determined to identify every potential option, envision every potential outcome, consider every consequence, and do a thorough cost/benefit analysis. To say that she pays attention to details is like saying that Tom Brady occasionally thinks about football. That character trait has saved me (us) from my more impulsive inclinations more times than I could count. God must like Diane’s “one more thing” technique, because He applied it in an exchange with me recently.
The experience I shared in last week’s “ring story”post, A Little Something for You, will always stand out in my mind as one of those everyday miracles that God does just because He loves us. But He’s more than a loving Father, He’s also the Master Teacher, and the blessings He gives always extend beyond the moment of delivery. Everything He does becomes a means of demonstrating important principles and illustrating truth that extend beyond the immediate situation.
More Emphasis Needed ~
When I was about to move on from reflecting on last week’s post, God arrested my attention in an unusual way. He seemed to insert my wife’s familiar phrase in my head and say to me, “Oh wait – just one more thing … ” There was a principle infused in that incident that deserved more emphasis than we gave it.
In that story, I highlighted the fact that I had been totally unaware that my wedding band had fallen off. I didn’t consider external conditions like the cold temperature or the unusually dry condition of my hands as anything significant. My hands were effectively numbed, and I didn’t see or feel anything when the ring fell off. Had it not been for what I consider to be God’s intervention, I would have never figured out how or where I had lost it. The “one more thing” needing emphasis here is understanding how easily that can happen to things much more valuable than a ring.
In light of that, some relevant questions arise. For instance, how many things of incredible value have we already lost without ever noticing when they went missing? How many times have we failed to consider the impact that changing conditions could have on the security of our treasured possessions? And finally, can we recover those priceless possessions we allowed to slip away while we’re in the midst of the very conditions that allowed us to lose them in the first place?
A Similar Situation ~
There’s a familiar story in the Bible that comes to mind when considering this issue. It tells how one of God’s unique champions made a shocking discovery he didn’t anticipate. He was a chosen and gifted man who had experienced God’s supernatural provision again and again, but he got complacent and drifted into dangerous territory. It wasn’t until he was confronted with an overwhelming enemy and in desperate need of God’s strength, that he realized he had lost something vital – and didn’t even know it had slipped away as he had slept . . .
Then she [Delilah] lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment [tease and mock] him, and his strength left him. And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. (Judges 16:19–20 NKJV)
We human beings are creatures of habit. We develop routines and standardize our behaviors to help reduce the volume of things demanding our conscious attention. It helps to make life feel normal. But . . . not consciously focusing on certain things also means we’re less likely to notice them at all. While that trait may be helpful in making our lives simpler and more efficient, it can easily become a prelude to disaster.
A Dangerous Downside ~
When our list of items we consider routine and insignificant begins to include things that are foundational to our security and prosperity, we move into dangerous territory. When we cease to even notice them, we also cease to appreciate them. The importance of their role and the value of their contribution diminishes, and we soon stop protecting, promoting and defending them. Eventually, like the ring in my story, priceless possessions begin to quietly disappear. We’re seeing that process unfold now. Spiritual foundations and moral standards have been changing for generations and many of the critical rights and freedoms supported by them have been allowed to slip away largely unnoticed. For instance,
- We were too distracted to consider the implications when our entertainment icons began to ridicule and demean the moral values and standards that ensured our peace and prosperity.
- We didn’t realize the extent of the threat when Darwin’s words were considered gospel and the Gospel was deemed a fable.
- When academic “experts” began systematically diminishing the role of parents and challenging their authority, most were unaware.
- We didn’t take it seriously enough when prayer was banished from our classrooms and mentioning God was forbidden.
- We wagged our heads when atheistic professors declared that absolute truth no longer existed and that the concept of sin was archaic, irrelevant, and oppressive.
- We rolled our eyes in disbelief when perversions more bizarre than anything we’d ever imagined were extolled as normal and even admirable.
- When we learned that failure to accept that viewpoint could subject us to devastating social, corporate, and legal repercussions, we were shocked.
It looks like some things of incredible value may have slipped away, doesn’t it?
Another Suggestion ~
So, what do we do now? How do we address the issues involved before we lose “one more thing” and how do we begin to regain what we’ve lost? John’s admonition to the Church in Sardis offers a suggestion or two that we might consider:
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, “These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect [whole/complete] before God.’” (Revelation 3:1-2 NKJV)
- Be watchful. Our rights and freedoms are anything but routine, insignificant possessions. It’s time to recognize their value and, like I should have done with my ring, hold onto them tightly so they can’t slip away without our awareness.
- Strengthen the things which remain: Exercise not only maintains strength, it increases it. If we’re going to preserve our rights and freedoms, we must exercise them consistently and challenge the conditions that weaken them.
- Realize that some of the things that remain are on the chopping block already and are “ready to die.” If we don’t exert every influence we have to rescue them, then they will soon be gone as well.
And as you might expect . . . “Oh, wait, there’s just one more thing …” It’s time to stop going to sleep with our head on Delilah’s lap. When we cuddle up with our sources of pleasure and ignore the obvious evil, we’re sure to end up weak, blind, and enslaved by the enemy God sent us to defeat.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .
- “Spiritual foundations and moral standards have been changing for generations and many of the critical rights and freedoms they support have been allowed to slip away largely unnoticed.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “We wagged our heads when atheistic professors declared that absolute truth no longer existed and that the concept of sin was archaic, irrelevant, and oppressive. It looks like some things of incredible value have slipped away, doesn’t it?” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Our rights and freedoms are anything but routine, insignificant possessions. It’s time to recognize their value and wrap our fingers tightly around them so they can’t slip off without our awareness.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “It’s time to stop going to sleep with our head on Delilah’s lap. When we cuddle up with our sources of pleasure and ignore the obvious evil, we’re sure to end up weak, blind, and enslaved by the enemy God sent us to defeat.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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