Date Posted: July 30th, 2012
The Lord disciplines the one he loves. Hebrews 12:6
Speaking the truth is part of God’s loyalty to you. God will never allow His children to walk in disobedience. However disturbing it is, He will speak the truth to bring us to our senses. The mark of God’s sheep is that they hear His voice.
Karen and I have three alarm clocks in our bedroom. The first wakens us with gentle music, but it’s quite easy to go back to sleep. The second one is more disturbing, but it’s there in case we sleep through the first alarm. The third one could probably serve as a tornado warning, but it’s better than being late. We’ve been known, on occasion, to sleep through all three. All you have to do is hit the snooze button. God uses three alarm clocks to waken us up to our sins…
Alarm #1: God sends the Spirit
When [the Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin… John 16:8
God’s first alarm is very gentle. It is the Holy Spirit working in your conscience through the Word of God. The problem is that some of us sleep right through it. Some of us have switched that one off. We’re not in the Word. We can’t remember when we last examined our spiritual lives. When that happens, you shouldn’t be surprised if God sets off his second alarm clock.
Alarm #2: God sends a friend
Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” 2 Samuel 12:7
If you’ve slept through God’s first alarm, you should be grateful for His second alarm. If God sends someone who cares about you to speak the truth to you, you should be profoundly thankful. Don’t get angry. What would happen without this second alarm? Think about what happened to Cain or Saul, and then think about what happened to David.
God will most likely use someone who cares for you that He has placed near you. It may be your mother or father, your husband or your wife. He may use a Christian friend, an accountability partner, or a pastor, but if someone who cares about you speaks to you, listen. Don’t get angry. Don’t walk away. It’s always better to lose face than to lose the blessing of God.
Alarm #3: God sends an enemy
When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him… 1 Samuel 28:5-6
If a person ignores God’s second alarm, their situation becomes perilous. That’s what happened to Saul. Instead of humbling himself and seeking the mercy of God, he continued down his reckless path, and God allowed him to be overrun by the Philistines. The man who sleeps through three alarms is in big trouble, because all that is left after that is the judgment of God.
Learn early response
Whenever I think about God’s three alarms, it strikes me that I want to learn to respond to the first one. For some people, God is ringing the first alarm right now. As the Word is being preached, the Holy Spirit is speaking about an area of sin in your life that needs to be dealt with. Will you do it? Or are you going to shut off the alarm?
Don’t do that. Some of us have gotten used to shutting down alarms. Every time one goes off, we just stretch out our arm and shut it down; we don’t hear it any more. We don’t hear the Word, and we don’t hear the people that God has put around us.
Nothing could be more foolish than to resist the Holy Spirit when He speaks to you about your sin. God is reaching out to you in the gentlest of ways. It’s always disturbing, but this work of the Holy Spirit is a wonderful expression of God’s grace.
This LifeKey is based on the message (April 28, 2002) called: “Speak Truth,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, from the series, “Dealing With the Difficult Person.”