"3. Listen to Warnings on the Inside”
By Pastor Delbert Young
Life Gate Ministries, August 2, 2009
204 North Main Street, LaFayette, GA 30728
People give into temptation. We all have at one time or another, but sometimes people get loose in their morals. They run around on their spouses. They watch and look at things they know they shouldn’t. They get into questionable areas compromising here and compromising there. It’s not that we don’t know what the right thing to do is. We know what God has told us and is telling us to do. The truth is, we choose to ignore it and do what we feel like doing. We don’t have real discipline and are led by our feelings instead of by the Spirit.
If we are going to experience the best in life possible, we must learn to pay attention to the warnings God puts in our hearts on the inside. On the inside of every person is an alarm. When we get into areas of compromise and questionable areas, the alarm goes off. INSIDE YOURSELF you feel an uneasiness. That’s God speaking to us through our conscience. He is telling us there is danger up ahead and we need to make changes. Too often, we don’t pay attention to the alarm. We override it and say, “I can get away with it.” “I can run with these friends and not get into trouble.” “I can watch this video. I’m not going to get into temptation. I’m a Christian. I am strong.”
2 Peter 3:17 YE therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest YE ALSO, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from YOUR OWN STEDFASTNESS.
1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if YOU THINK you are standing firm, be careful that YOU don't fall!
No matter how steadfast or secure you think you are, you can be led away. It can happen to anyone if they override the alarm inside. If you play with fire long enough, you will get burned. You can’t dwell on impure thoughts and not get into trouble. Don’t think you are so spiritually strong you can hang with immoral people and it not effect you. Eventually, you will become exactly like them. If you are going to have victory in your life, you must pay attention to THE WARNINGS ON THE INSIDE. That’s God trying to keep you on his best path.
We’ve all heard the story of the Titanic, a huge, lavish, and thought “unsinkable” ocean liner. It had the most sophisticated equipment. People were so confident the Titanic could not sink there were not enough lifeboats provided to handle all the people onboard. There was no vessel like the Titanic. When it came time to launch it on its first cruise, the whose who of that day lined up. The wealthy were onboard and off it went, but even before leaving on that voyage across the Atlantic, ships reported icebergs in the very area the Titanic would be sailing. On April 11, the Titanic received six warnings of heavy ice and huge icebergs. On April 12, five more warnings, three more on April 13, and seven more on the 14th, all warning of many large icebergs. Danger! Take a different route! Get out of the area! However, the captain did not listen to the warnings. I’m sure the thought was, “This is the Titanic. Nothing can hurt the Titanic.” However, at 11:40 pm, the unthinkable happened. It hit an iceberg. Less than three hours later, the unsinkable Titanic split in half and sank to the bottom of the ocean taking over 1500 people with it. That tragedy was completely avoidable had the captain simply listened to the warnings. The greatest lesson learned from the Titanic is heeding the warning while there is still time to turn around. A time will come when it’s too late to turn around and lives are devastated and even destroyed.
The lesson for us all today is to heed the warnings we hear on the inside. Turn around. Make adjustments so you can stay on God’s best path. Don’t think you are invincible. You’re not. You can sink. You can fall. Someone says, “I’m not going to get off into adultery. It doesn’t hurt anything to flirt. I’m just friendly.” You had better listen to the warnings on the inside. It doesn’t matter how good a person you are, or how much you go to church. If you open a door for the enemy and ignore the warnings inside, an iceberg is waiting. Don’t go against your conscience.
1 Timothy 1:19 Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always KEEP YOUR CONSCIENCE CLEAR. For some people have DELIBERATELY VIOLATED THEIR CONSCIENCES; as a result, THEIR FAITH HAS BEEN SHIPWRECKED.
When someone’s faith is shipwrecked, it means their life is shipwrecked too. Realize it’s seldom “BAM!” you hit an iceberg. The Titanic had no less than 21 warnings. The iceberg didn’t simply pop up in the dark of the night. We get warning after warning, but we DELIBERATELY VIOLATE the warning on the inside.
I knew of a family who seemed to have it all together. Their children were well behaved and polite. They attended a church faithfully and became very involved in several ministries. They loved their church. It seemed God was moving in their lives and blessing, but they maintained some questionable relationships. After a while, their faithfulness was slipping and especially the wife distancing herself. The wife began spending a lot of time with girlfriends and men going to bars and nightclubs. The wife invited a woman I know to go with them, but she felt the alarm on the inside and never went. The others heard the same alarm, but ignored it pushing it down. One day they told the pastor they felt God instructed them to stop going to church. They said they were not upset with the church or anyone. They were simply going to take a “sabbatical” from any church. The wife intensified her “girls’ night out” and sure enough, she became emotionally involved with a man and they became more and more involved. Soon, the couple separated then split in half sinking, taking the children with them. They divorced, but not only her, every woman hanging with them divorced. It didn’t just happen overnight. The warnings came. Like the Titanic, they ignored the alarms. I think the husband felt invincible, but ran his family into an iceberg.
You must be cautious about how much you communicate with people other than your spouse. Communication can develop into emotional involvement. If you have a spouse who is difficult to communicate with, you need to go the extra mile doing what’s necessary to get the lines of communication open. If you are the spouse with the communication difficulty, you need to work on your communication skills. Don’t make the mistake of saying, “My husband never talks to me, so I am going to confide in this other man. I’m going to tell him about my hurts and wounds and disappointments. He understands me.” Not only is an alarm going off. Flares are shooting in the air. The enemy is planning your iceberg. Instead, spend the time and energy you put into talking to the other man on making your own marriage better.
I know this isn’t the most exciting message you ever heard, but this is real life. This message can save your marriage, keep you from shipwrecking your faith, and keep you on God’s best path. The enemy never shows you down the road where the family is broken apart and devastated. He doesn’t show you you’re laying in bed crying, lonely, defeated, asking, “What have I done?” He only shows you short term “cruise liner” sailing.
I heard that only 5% of marriages beginning with infidelity survive. If you have an affair, leave your present marriage to be with the other person, there is a 95% chance that relationship will not survive. God doesn’t bless that unless there is true repentance. In all of my years, I know of only one that made it. The enemy doesn’t show you that. If that person would leave their spouse to be with you, and you would leave your spouse to be with them, the chances are 95% one day one of you will do the same thing again. One day, you will probably find yourself on the other side of the situation. The problem is a character issue, not a spouse issue.
(KJV) Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Your spirit is your character. It’s who you really are. With those type character flaws, or broken down character, the person is defenseless. Until they get the walls of their character built back up, they will be attacked again and again by the enemy. Don’t think you are immune or invincible. I’ve seen some of the most honorable people of integrity you can imagine get flaws in their walls and the way flaws in our walls come is by ignoring the warnings inside. It doesn’t matter the greatness of your integrity if you ignore the warning inside.
Some of you here today are on the verge of compromising. You have heard the alarm. You have ignored it so far. It’s no accident you are here today. It’s no accident you are watching this on TV, watching this on the internet, or listening to the audio. God is giving you another warning. God is trying to keep you from hitting the iceberg, splitting apart, and shipwrecking. God loves you so much that he is trying to keep you on his best path. You have to do your part and change course.
There are two pains of life. One is the pain of discipline. The other is the pain of regret. The pain of discipline weighs ounces and last only for a moment. The pain of regret weighs tons and last a lifetime. I know a preacher who years ago was setting his city and area on fire. His church was growing and he was the man of the hour. However, he allowed a flaw in his wall. He emotionally attached, physically attached, and then he hit his iceberg. He fell in love with a married woman, divorced his wife, lost his children, and finally married the woman. He is among the 5% who made it. I called him and asked him if I could use his situation and what I once heard him say. He said certainly. Someone asked if he would do it again. His answer was, and I quote as discreetly as I can, “Hell NO!” He said God made it into a good marriage, but the pain he went through and put others through was something he would not repeat if he could go back to then. I asked him about the warnings within. He said he had a million of them. Then he said to me, “I thought I was invincible until the arrow pierced my liver.”
Proverbs 7:22-23 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing IT WILL COST HIM HIS LIFE.
The reality is there are decisions we make that will forever altar the path of our destiny. There are times when you make one bad choice and your life will never be what it could have been. When we are tempted to compromise, we need to remind ourselves this decision could stop me from being what I want to be. God loves you and will forgive, restore, and let you go down path “B,” but my friend knows he missed God’s “A” path.
If you’ve made mistakes in the past, there’s nothing you can do about that now. I am not here to condemn you. I am here to make you aware of the warnings inside that will cause you to avoid future icebergs. Some people think God will make you do right. No. He sets before you life and death and allows you to choose.
Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU LIFE AND DEATH, BLESSINGS AND CURSES. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
It’s amazing what icebergs we run into do to our children. God will not make you do right. He will warn us, set off alarms, fire flares in the air, but we choose. Sometimes, for a short-term appetite, we sell out our entire destiny. The Bible tells about Esau doing that very thing. He was hungry and sold his destiny to his brother for a pot of beans.
Hebrews 12:16-17 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau. He traded his birthright as the oldest son for a single meal. And AFTERWARD, when he wanted his father's blessing, he was rejected. It was TOO LATE for repentance, even though he wept bitter tears.
Notice the link between immorality and loosing your birthright. We will weep afterward, but it was our own fault. We chose and trade the wrong path for a short-term appetite. Young people, don’t get caught up in the heat of the moment of a back seat. You could get pregnant and have a child at an early age. That will altar your future. There is a price to pay for poor choices. God will bless you and you can rebuild the walls, but it will alter who you could have been.
I believe God is dealing with many today perhaps not in the area of relationships, but maybe about your weight. There was a great man of God who probably knew more Bible than anyone I ever knew. He preached right here several years ago, but refused to make the right choice concerning his weight. His wife found him dead. I know God warned him on the inside over and over about his weight. He did not heed the warning inside. Maybe you are watching something you know you shouldn’t watch. God has warned you inside. It’s messing up your mind and causing you to have impure thoughts. Turn before you hit the iceberg.
Whatever it is, turn and begin to listen to the warnings inside. Don’t think you are invincible and can’t shipwreck. Rule your own spirit and be a person of character and integrity. Don’t wait until the arrow pierces your liver. God is setting before you life and death, blessings and curses. He is asking you to choose life today. Don’t sell your destiny for one moment of temporary appetite. HEED THE WARNINGS INSIDE. If you will, you will not go down the wrong path, or just any path. You will go down God’s best “A” path for you.