I recall a vivid incident during our years of living in Zambia. We were driving to town in our little Gulf when we noticed a broken branch in the road. In most of Africa that’s a substitute for an emergency triangle, so we cautiously slowed down. As we did, a mini-bus overtook us at quite a clip. We heard screeching tires, and when we rounded the bend, the overzealous minibus driver had crashed into a tree that had fallen across the road. Mini bus drivers aren’t the only ones speeding to failure. The Bible has faithfully recorded the failures of figures such as David, Saul, and Samson. What is really scary about reading their stories is that I can easily fall into the rut of the very same practices that led to their disgrace. So, I want to expose three sure fire ways for me to fast track to failure lest I race around the corner into a crash.
Ignore advice. Sometimes we seek out advice from wise counselors. That’s admirable. Voluntarily seeking advice makes it more likely that we can swallow advice that may be contrary to our intentions. However, what I most struggle with is unsolicited advice. I’m buzzing along at quite a clip and someone slows me down with other factors to consider or even a challenge to my attitudes! My temptation is to brush their advice quickly out of the road and get on my way. However, that advice is often just what I needed to avoid a disaster in my planning or a collision with a coworker.
One way God has to keep us humble is to send the most unassuming person to us with advice! It might be a child, a fellow worker, or even a cashier who is serving us. Want to fast track to failure? Ignore all such advice!!!
And one more way I’ve found myself slipping into a pit, is ignoring the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. He whispers a gentle word of caution, a reminder to slow down, or simply withdraws his presence. Ignoring him always keeps me on the wrong track headed for some measure of disaster. As I sit beside the crash site I usually remember back to his gentle words of caution.
Ignore criticism. Criticism whether given by an enemy with a slimy attitude or a thoughtful friend with a gentle spirit can be the very obstacle on the road to slow our collision course to failure. Criticism at its best is difficult to handle, but often there is just enough truth buried in there to provide a friendly warning. Want to fast track to failure? Ignore criticism. Want to avoid that disgrace? Then learn to sift through criticism for its message and readjust your course.
Ignore biblical instructions. Why is it that we fall into the trap of creating our own solutions rather than seeking for God’s solutions? That’s a clear recipe for disaster, and yet I do it and so have many of God’s servants through the centuries. For example, here’s a simple instruction. If your brother offends you, go to him privately and show him his fault. I can flip my Bible open to that passage and I can teach it passionately, but if I don’t do it, I am destined to failure in my marriage, in my team, in my church, or in friendship. And If I don’t follow that simple advice I can drag many others down the road towards disunity, division, and disaster. Want to fast track to failure? Treat the Bible as part of your Sunday fashion statement and ignore its advice. Want to avoid disaster, read the Word as a map book for life and follow its tracks to avoid those potholes, pits, and ravines of failure.
Well, I certainly don’t want to fast track to failure. I definitely need some serious readjustments in what I tune into to keep me on the path and out of the ditch. I can’t afford to ignore the natural warning signals God sends my way or you might find me sitting in the ravine remembering the advice, criticism, or instruction I had ignored. Fast track to failure? Not interested. I’d rather work on the needed adjustments.