I Think I Need a Little Help Here
The sign greets you entering and exiting our neighborhood. A clever twist on “Smokey the Bear” commercials. “Only You can prevent Forest fires.” Those were meant to instill a principle with a cuddly bear posing as your friend. This is a warning! If you (the collective you who live in this neighborhood) do not slow down, you will pay a hefty price. Speed bumps to jar your car’s suspension, rattle your brains, and make your morning commute even longer. Additionally, the homeowners will probably have to pay for the installation of the speed bumps.
God’s word is full of warnings to believers about how to live as new creations in Christ. Galatians 5 and 6 are overflowing with contrasts between a person’s actions before coming to Christ and the model Christian’s lifestyle as a new creation in Christ. Just as we are freely given the road on which to drive, we are given freedom in Christ. But we cannot speed down the road endangering others’ lives anymore than we can misuse our freedom in Christ to give free rein to the flesh. Paul warns:
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:13-15
Sounds like a warning that comes with a speed bump. The bone rattling destruction of relationships–of each other. But Paul gives us a hope that the sign in our neighborhood lacks. The believer’s posted sign does not begin with “Only You.” We have the Holy Spirit to help us live this new creation life. On our own, we could not move away from the sinful acts mentioned in verses 19-21. On our own, we could not blossom forth with the fruits of the Spirit listed in verses 22&23.
Paul gives up hope that the impossible is possible:
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Galatians 5:16 NIV
We all fall short of living by the Spirit, but God has provided forgiveness for us when we exceed the speed limit on the Christian road of life. Through Jesus, we have the forgiveness of our sins and the opportunity to start with a new road each time we ask for forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness... if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” 1 John 1:9 and 2:1b NIV
It’s a better deal than our neighborhood is offering. Once those in authority rule that the warning sign was not heeded, the speed bumps will be installed. I wonder if they could be talked into repaving the road –at their cost–if the residents show repentance?
What are the warnings the Lord has put in your life? Are you calling on the Spirit to help you? Or have you been attempting to change in your own strength?
Linking up with Internet Cafe and Word Filled Wednesday. Just click on the button to see more photos from other participants.
His word is a lamp to our feet to show us those bumps before we hit them…if we saturate ourselves in the Word
Such great scriptures, bless you.
“The believer’s posted sign does not begin with “Only You.” We have the Holy Spirit to help us live this new creation life.” Great reminder in your words, had to repeat them here in the comment.
Love your post! Ha — the sign is a hoot.
God’s warnings always point us to freedom.
Wonderful insight you’ve shared Janis. Thank goodness we’re not left on our own but we’ve been given the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you everyone for stopping by.
Wanda, I agree. Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit.
Ceal, Life does go smoother if we heed the warnings.
Beth, God’s warnings and His blessings that await obedience are phenomenal.
Ozjane, good insight. If we heed His Word we won’t hit the speed bumps.
Linda, I’m glad you liked the emphasis on following the Christian life is not up to “Only You.”
Denise, Ah, the blessings of His Word.
Christian, God’s freedom does come with responsibilities. His promises with obedience.
Great point you have there. God gives us freedom but along with it are bunch of responsibilities we have to assume… Or else, our lives will reign in chaos!
Btw, I just followed you. Can you add me please?
YOu can view my entry on my blog – http://superyan23.blogspot.com/2010/08/wfw-god-is-strength-of-my-heart.html
I really like this. Great analogies with the road of life and speed bumps. If we heed the warnings our life can go a lot smoother!
Stopping by to follow your blog! Nice to meet you.
Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations http://www.ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com
Very thoughtful thanks for sharing this word.
I love the sign.
Christianity isn’t like being third string on a Super Bowl winning team. A third string player may never see the field in action, but as Christians we are all called to participate.
If we asked the question, “What if spreading the Word of God was completely up to you and no one else?” We may need to re-evaluate our priorities if we leave it up to others now, but we would do something if it was totally up to us.
Blessings Janis…what a wonderful devotional on these verses from Galatians! Great sign… I daily have to contend with speed bumps and to the Mexicans drivers, the bumps do NOT slow them down.
So thankful that I heed them because shocks sure take a beating! Great analogies and lessons for us all! I’m paying attention! I need the Holy Spirit every day but not sure about what He may be warning me about except the most important issue to asked… doing it in my own strength when I fail and know that in my weakness, He is stronger and much better and my Sufficiency!
(When will I get this all right?) Love this!
Thank you so much…and also for your exhortation! May His love & fruit keep growing and showing in you and me!
I love God’s Word for its guidance on how we should better ourselves and live as Christians. Love the scriptures you shared. Your post is true and right. Blessings to you on this WFW!!
You have a great way of seeing a new meaning–even in signs. I think it’s funny that you like the sign. However, your interpretation should move all of us to know our responsibility in spreading the Good News!
Thank you for stopping by and adding me to those you follow. It’s a blessing, indeed!
My Journey Back,
It is always good to meet one on the road back. We’ve all been there and learned of the Lord’s faithfulness to keep us. May you be blessed.
Thank you for stopping in. So much to meditate on in His Word. The same Scripture verse read 5 times can have different meanings depending on where we are in life.
From My Heart to Yours,
I love that sign! And so glad we don’t really have to avoid speed bumps on our own.
I sort of like God’s speed bumps. They make me slow down so I don’t scrape up my backside. 🙂
How grateful I am that he paves these roads with grace and speed bumps and warning signs. My car would have a lot more dents without a few reminders to Sloooooooow Down and Be Still. (Psalm 46:10)
Thank you, Janis, for your thoughtful posts. You’re a blessing to the High Calling community.