Ignoring The Warning Signs
Cats. Most people either hate them or love them. It was right around the time when I graduated college, I was living with roommates and found myself a couple months into a new job. My roommates and I decided to adopt a cat because at the time, I was one of those people who loved them. One night the cat snuck into my room to sleep on my bed, I didn’t think twice about it.
I woke up the next day, walked to the bathroom, took a look in the mirror and let out an “ohhhh noooooo!” Half of my face was completely inflated with hives, it was a DISASTER. Time was running out and I knew I had to be at work. It was important to get the swelling to go down before I walked into the office.
In sheer panic, I reached for the only medicine I knew that I had available; liquid children’s allergy medicine. Without thinking, I took a swig to try and calm my face down; not even measuring how much and got ready for work.
On my drive to the office, I felt my face begin to feel better but my body started to feel off. I walked through the doors and started to feel droopy, as if my body was shutting down and I was going to pass out. Mortified and embarrassed, I ended up having to get a ride home.
When I got home, I found that the negative symptoms I was experiencing was from taking too much of the medicine, which also happened to be expired. I failed to look at the expiration date because I was in such panic.
In that moment of fear, I responded impulsively- ignoring any warning signs of the dosage recommendation and expiration date. I grabbed the first option that I thought would provide me the results I needed. In turn, I actually made a bigger mess of the situation.
Maybe you can relate to my story of ignoring all of the warning signs to only make matters worse. Have you ever wanted something so badly that you didn’t stop to think things through but instead, reached for the first thing that you thought would take care of your needs? If we slowed down and took a closer look at our needs and how they can truly be met, we can understand why we shouldn't go about ignoring the warning signs moving forward.
Recognize our need.
Are we looking for love? worth? peace? security? joy? Yet find ourselves in a constant cycle of unmet needs? These are some common needs that we can incorrectly attempt to find fulfilled by the wrong substitutes.
I believe we were created by and for our creator. Even though we have sinned and fallen short, He made a way to redeem us by sending His son to take our place. He cares for us and knows our hearts much better than we do. When we come to Him, He provides us a greater understanding of what we are truly longing for.
I love how vulnerable King David was with God. He came before the Lord and said “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23, ESV). When we see ourselves seeking to find a need met, we need to be able to come to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to search us and reveal to us what this need is that we are looking to find fulfilled.
Recognize what we are incorrectly fulfilling our need with.
Don’t want to think about that fight you just had with your loved one? Do you find it easier to run to the drive-thru and drown your emotions with an Number 3 and Chocolate Shake?
Feeling lonely? Thinking of jumping into a relationship with that guy or girl who has been flirting with you lately, even though you know they do not have a relationship with the Lord?
Do you feel you have to prove your worth by the status in your education or career? But you believe that in order to achieve this, you’ll have to cut off all time spent in Christian community or your personal time with the Lord?
When we find ourselves seeking to fulfill a need, we should simply ask ourselves- what I am really longing for? Am I temporarily finding my needs met in something besides God?
When we get so captivated by a need, we tend to panic and choose poor alternatives to meet our needs. A poor alternative places us in a worse position than where we were before. We fail to recognize God is available and God is the ultimate solution to our needs. We fail to remind ourselves that no matter what we face, God is good and sovereign.
Take a moment and reflect on what you run to first when you have a need. We should prayerfully come to the Lord and seek His guidance in all circumstances. Consider if this option we choose will bring us closer to Him or draw us further away.
Recognize the warning signs.
Christ laid down His life in our place so we could live to glorify and enjoy Him. Why don’t we run to the word of God- and recognize the warning signs God has laid out for us? What if we took the word of God and applied it to our lives? We can now seek to understand what pleases God and what displeases God. We should take His word and recognize that the commandments not only show us our sin and our need of a savior, but protects us from harming ourselves and those we love.
When we decide to run to something other than God to satisfy a need, we are viewing this option as our God. He commands us to have no other gods before Him, that we should not worship or treasure other things before Him (Exodus 20:3). God warns us not only because He is the only one worthy of our worship, but because these other things we may place before God, will eventually fail us, unlike God.
Recognize where our need can be truly met.
God wants us to depend on Him and come to Him when we have needs. He doesn't want to see us disappointed from another option failing to meet our needs. God clearly warns us that nothing can ever fulfill our needs like He can. These other options are not God, they are earthly, temporary, and will fade.
Philippians 4:19 tells us that “...my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” When we come to God and submit our specific needs to Him, we can find all we need in the accomplished work at the cross.
If you need peace, God can provide. You can rest in the hope that He has secured in overcoming sin and death through Jesus Christ.
If you have a need to feel loved, you can find how God displayed this true love towards you when He sent His son to die in your place so that you could continue to have a life-giving relationship with Him.
If you have a need to find worth or value in life, you can remind yourself that God created you uniquely for His purposes. You belong to the almighty creator, He has a plan to glorify himself through you and even sent His son in your place so that you can have true life. This gift given to you is eternal and cannot be earned.
Ultimately, we have an incredible God. He gave so much for us when we least deserved it. Our man-centered hearts have longed to be glorified and our needs to be met in several things but God. Yet, He still loved us, He still gave his life for us, He still chose us. With a deeper revelation and understanding of the true and faithful God that we have, we should seek to glorify Him with our lives and cling to Him in every need.
The next time you find yourself panicking to find a need met; slow down, get before God, read the word He laid out for you- recognize these warning signs, and find the true and best option for your needs- Him. Let His word encourage you and find comfort in Him as He provides in every need. As we submit our lives to the Lord, in response to His beautiful sacrifice; we can rest in the truth that no other substitute can fufill our needs like the God that we were created for.