Has an alarm sounded for you? In Sunday School we are currently going through a study on what it sometimes takes in order for some to change. As a part of that study we have learned about alarms. Specifically, alarms that sound in our lives warning us of coming destruction if we don’t heed the alarm and make changes in accordance to God’s Word, nature and will for us.
What is an alarm? Sometimes it is the sounding of an alert like an alarm clock that wakes us up in the morning. At other times, it is the sound of a warning letting us know of impending destruction if we don’t heed it and make the necessary changes.
When we talk about alarms, it’s funny how some get our attention, and yet others don’t even phase us in any way. In order for an alarm to be effective it has to become more unpleasant to us than what we are wanting or desiring, otherwise we wouldn’t heed it. When you think of an alarm clock, the soft sounds of a breeze through tree branches or ocean waves crashing against some rocks might not wake you up enough to get up and out of bed, but the sound of an air horn or a fire alarm will probably get you out of bed in a sudden jolt with full adrenalin flowing through your veins. That alarm was effective. We see it with our cell phones. Some ringtones are hard for us to hear to notice, but others get our attention right away and we know that someone is trying to contact us. What alarms get your attention, and which ones are easy for you to not hear or to ignore?
Have you known someone that paid little attention to what they ate, desiring more the enjoyment of the food than to be without, at least until they got the doctors report? Once they got the doctors report it took very little effort on their part to change both what they ate and their eating habits. The doctors report was an alarm. What about the person that thinks nothing about the way they drive and end up having a fender bender that was their fault? The fender bender was an alarm sounding, letting them know that if they don’t make some changes in the way they drive they could end up in a very disastrous accident that could prove fatal in multiple ways. Or maybe you’ve been embezzling money from your employer, and one day someone decides to take an audit of the company’s finances? There’s an alarm sounding. When it comes to change in our lives, what alarms must God sound before we will take notice and change what needs to be changed?
It would be great if it only took one alarm to bring change in our life, but for many people it takes multiple alarms before that change comes, if it ever does. The person that initially changed their eating habits eventually goes back to eating the way they used to before the doctor’s report, and now they are suffering from a heart-attack that could’ve been avoided. Perhaps they live through the heart-attack, and if so that is another louder alarm, but how many more alarms will they need to endure before they change or they suffer the consequences of their poor eating habits? The person with the fender bender shrugs it off as though it’s nothing big, maybe even trying to pass the blame onto someone or something else because they are too good of a driver, only to end up in a multi-car pileup that cost the life of 5 innocent people. The person embezzling money slips past the audit undetected and they now feel safe, and as a result starts embezzling more than they had previously only to get caught in a “sting” operation that literally costs them everything they have and ten years in prison, not to mention the reputation they had worked so hard to build up over the years.
I recently read in I Peter 4:17 how that judgment first begins in the house of God. Some would say that as Christians we are exempt from God’s judgment, and that we’re free to live as we please because of God’s forgiveness, but that is not the case. When I think about this verse and the alarms I’ve already mentioned I think of two modern examples for us to consider, Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. Both of these men loved God and were greatly used of God to reach millions of people with the Gospel, but both of them had sin in their lives exposed that caused their ministries to collapse. From what I remember of both situations, both of them had people approach them in private about sin in their life, but because of their pride thinking they wouldn’t get caught or that it was okay, they ignored the alarms God was sounding in their lives. It was only after they kept ignoring the alarms God was sounding to them in private that God had no choice but to bring very public correction to them, and it cost them dearly, perhaps far more than they ever thought they would lose if exposed. I won’t go into where these men are now as that is not the crux of this blog, but the fact is God had sounded alarms in their lives long before the destruction came that they ignored. So, God does sound alarms in our lives when we are not living as we ought, but whether or not we heed the alarms and change is strictly up to us.
Has God been sounding alarms in your life? Is He trying to warn you of destruction heading your way if you don’t change the way you’re doing something? I think we all have at one time or another, and we will more than likely hear those alarms in the future as we grow and mature in Him as we should. Instead of learning things the hard-way as some are so proud to declare for themselves, let us heed the different alarms in our lives and make whatever changes we ought to, all with the help of the Holy Spirit.
God loves and accepts us just as we are, but He also loves us to much to leave us as we are.