walk in the word
“Today, if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart.” Psalm 95:7
Have you ever heard of lemmings? They’re the craziest little creatures. My son Landon and I were reading all about them. In Norway these furry hamster-like creatures live in underground tunnels. Millions of them. Talk about mass reproduction—these things make rabbits look infertile. In fact, a lemming can give birth every four weeks! This presents a problem since they keep reproducing, and eventually run out of food and space.
Then this bizarre thing happens—God has put an alarm inside these lemmings so that about every two years, when the population has reached maximum overload, a whole bunch of them crawl out of their hole. First ten lemmings, then a hundred, then thousands, and then hundreds of thousands emerge from their tunnels and begin this massive march across the landscape. When they get to the sea, they fall right over the cliff and into the north Atlantic ocean, and drown.
What is that about? It’s pretty stupid to rush over a cliff—even for an animal with a brain smaller than your fingernail. So how much more puzzling is it for people, made in the image of Almighty God, to do the same thing? With a flawless internal alarm placed inside us to warn us when our life is going in a bad direction, a whole line of people ignore the signal and drive over a cliff. How many times have I been called into a situation where the car is at the bottom of the ravine and the person is in pieces, and everyone who knows them is devastated? I’m sorry to say that there have been too many times to count.
Today’s challenge is neither an encouraging message nor an instructive message from God’s Word—it’s a warning. Are you headed for a cliff?
Statistics say that when you’re driving in a car at 50 miles an hour and you hit the brakes, it takes 125 feet to stop. But get this—if you’re going twice as fast (100 miles an hour), you need four times (500 feet) that distance to stop.
It’s the same way in life. The faster you go in the “I-can-handle-it” mode, the more it’s going to take to stop. Here’s what I want to warn you about today: Some of you are driving way too fast and you’re not dealing with some unresolved issues in your life. And you’re headed for the cliff. You won’t go over it today. You may have a few days or weeks. But I’m telling you if you’re avoiding some issues, you’re driving too fast.
That’s the warning Herod needed to hear in Mark 6. Herod had some serious unresolved issues in his life. He was married to someone whom he had no business being married to, and she had a vindictive, bitter spirit toward John the Baptist. Yet Herod would go and listen to John the Baptist preach. Every time John would say, “Herod, you’ve got the wrong wife,” he’d just sit there and wouldn’t do anything about it. That was his whole life—not doing anything about anything. Maybe you could have caught him in a moment of honesty when he would have said, “I know I should deal with it but I’m just too busy.”
Now I’m not particularly concerned about Herod; he’s already in eternity. But we’re all still here, and we have choices to make. You can get away with a lot of busyness, but you can’t get away with not resolving things. Hear this challenge:
If there’s a conflict in your marriage, deal with it.
If you’ve got a son who has the wrong friends, deal with it.
If you’ve got a secret sin that’s persisting in your life, deal with it.
If the backdrop of your spirituality is a lot of defeat, shame, and frustration, and your spiritual life is really just a façade, could I plead with you? Deal with it!
If you have a bitter, unforgiving spirit toward someone, and there’s hatred in your heart—please, deal with it!
There are some other warning signals, too, that are just as life-threatening:
If you’re avoiding issue resolution, you’re driving too fast.
If you’re trivializing spiritual truth, you’re asleep at the wheel.
If you’re excusing “safe sin,” you’re on loose gravel.
If you’re ignoring internal alarms, you’re going through the guardrail.
And if you’re embracing open rebellion, you’re driving over the cliff.
Did you find yourself? I plead with you to listen to the complete message this week on the broadcast or online. …Heed the warning! There comes a point in time when you get past the mind and emotions and make a choice with your will. Will you deal with the issue? Or will you continue to excuse your sin and ignore your God-given internal alarm system? Certainly at church you choose the right direction, but in the middle of the week do you waver back and forth? If you stay in that in-between place, the time is coming when you will choose the wrong. I’ve seen it in my life and in dealing with others; when that moment comes we think we’ll step on the brakes, but instead we say, “I’m doing it,” and we hit the gas and over the edge we go.
This has been a hard word today but please hear my heart. I long for you to experience the freedom and joy that repentance brings. I pray this for you—“Father, strengthen each person who is hearing Your voice in this message and is returning to You. Some have received Your warning, and victory, joy, and good things will be the result. Lord, I also pray for someone who’s struggling. You’ve not been able to break their will yet, and in this moment they’re fighting with You. Might You pursue them until it bears fruit unto their own restoration. Amen.”
brought to you by change partners