S—Speak truth to yourself and others.
Psalms 19:14, is a verse that I have put to memory for many years now. Although I could quote this verse without hesitation, I still haven’t conquered the principle. It states,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
My words begin with my thoughts. My thoughts begin with what I trust to be true about my God. The problem takes root when I put confidence in my assessment of the circumstance or situation versus what God would say about the same exact situation.
If I allow my heart to park at the “Christine Knows Best” space in my mind, then it is all downhill from there. Another verse that's always been comforting, has also become a conviction. Isaiah 55:8 says,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways, saith the Lord.”
That puts it all into the proper perspective.
T—Take a minute to seek God’s face.
Isaiah 55:6-7 says,
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.”
Every minute of a day, my gracious God affords me the privilege to seek His precious face. I don’t have to hunt high and low for His counsel and presence. He is present with an open ear and a clear word of direction. We have this amazing gift without any strings or ritual. How is it that I neglect it, only to find myself in one messy collision after the another? That is not what He wants for His child. Seeking Him first is above all things a way of escape from "Christine Knows Best," and a straight road to His loving care.
O—Open your heart for examination.
After taking a moment to seek, I must then be willing to listen to what He wants to say. Romans 12:3 reminds us that we often have a wrong view of ourselves. It says,
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Instead of thinking that I know best, or that I can’t handle this, or they are wrong and I am right, I should say, "What about this situation am I seeing through my own windshield? What have I not corrected through the Spirit’s leading? What part of my flesh needs to be humbled and put to death?" Hebrews 3:15 gives us a firm warning:
“...Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
There is more to listening than hearing. The evidence is found in the obeying.
P—Purpose to be alert and sober.
Even on my best days, when the children are smiling like angels, the lunches, backpacks and all the things are neatly packed in their proper places, and the clock lets me know that I am ahead of schedule, (this is a hypothetical illustration of course), I will still need to be ready and prepared for how quickly my tongue can run every S-T-O-P sign on its way to the flashing lights of guilt and arresting remorse. Proverbs 4:23 gives us a healthy admonition:
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”
It is my responsibility to be the keeper of all the things that I think and say every day. There are no excuses for ignoring the clearly marked signs of righteousness.
When I choose to blow through all the warning signs, I get exactly what would happen if I were driving my minivan—a collision of wrecked spirits, wounded hearts, and a shattered testimony before others. Thankfully, even in the wreckage, God meets me there and willingly forgives. However, the collateral damage to those around me has been done. How much better it would be to be alert to the STOP signs and to be ready for any oncoming thought or word that can quickly spin out of control.
What was this situation that started me down this road? Surely it had to be some drastic and life-altering circumstance. No, it was just an ordinary morning. I was only trying to get all of our children in the van and to school with all the things that accompany them without losing all of my sanity. (Half of my sanity had vanished the night before during bedtime.)
In this life that we are called to live, it doesn’t take much to cause us to make excuses for driving right through the S-T-O-P signs on our way to the destination of, “My way or the highway.” I desperately want to avoid the damage that a wreckless tongue and mind bring. To do this, I just need to S-T-O-P.
Ask yourself these questions today:
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