Signs Along Life's Journey

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Psa 48:14 KJV) For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

The above verse is a great promise which God has given to His children. He promises to guide us our entire lives. Unlike the Deist who claims that God created the universe and earth and then walked away from it and allowed the natural processes to take over such as procreation and the cycle of nature, etc. They worship a god who cares nothing about his creation. However, the Bible is very different about the God of the Christian. He is concerned about every aspect of the lives of His redeemed children. He is very intimately involved in everything we do and has promised to guide us. Notice the above verse states that He is “our God.” Our God is also our Father who watches over us day and night.
(Psa 33:18 KJV) Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; The only ones who fear the Lord are those who are His.

God has chosen to guide us all the days of our lives yet it seems that we Christians continually get into trouble, make the wrong decisions, affect others wrongly, become depressed, find ourselves in difficult situations which seemed to start out so simply, etc. If God has chosen to guide us, then why does it seem that Christians seem to be in the most trouble? Could it be that as we journey through our Christian life, we are not paying attention to the signposts along the way? I was thinking about this the other day when I was driving close to my home. There is a red light and coming down a small hill in approaching the light is a small apartment complex on the right with a driveway. Before the driveway is a sign posted which states, “Do not block driveway.” I am sure we have all seen this sign. The reason you do not block a driveway is because there could be an emergency going on in one of the apartments and if a driveway is blocked, it could prevent emergency personnel from gaining entrance. When I come over that hill, normally from the park I visit, I will wait in a line of traffic ready to go across Route 1. As I sit there, I notice that no one pays attention to that sign and all drivers I see consistently block that driveway. To wait at the edge of the driveway is just waiting back about 10 feet from the car in front of them. When the light turns green to cross, the gap is filled in a few seconds and no one is left behind. Yet, knowing that blocking a driveway is both dangerous and illegal, it seems that people either do not care or are just not paying attention to the sign.

Therefore I would like to look at some signs that the Lord may give us along our spiritual journey, which we may be ignoring and which may be the root cause of us making the wrong decisions in our life.

STOP - One of the brightest signs we see on the road is the stop sign. It is a giant red sign which you normally cannot miss. It means you must come to a complete stop before proceeding. Many look at this sign and consider a rolling stop to be just as effective. That is incorrect plus it is illegal. Many times there may be something or some sin that we like holding on to and God is telling us to stop. He is not counseling us to do a rolling stop such as just reducing the amount of times that we sin, He is telling us to stop. Sin in the life of a Christian is a life stopper, I mean that if a Christian harbors sin, then God must place that Christian on a shelf until they stop sinning. This also means that God will have to chastise us if we do not stop sinning. That sin could be anger, hatred, gambling or anything which goes contrary to the life a Christian is supposed to lead which is in concert with the Scriptures. A person who wants to stop smoking and is still smoking one cigarette a month, has not quit, they are still smoking. It is the same with sinful actions, if we are to stop them, then they must be stopped, period!

LANE ENDS - You normally see this one on a highway where you must merge either to the right or to the left. In my 34 years of driving, I have seen people go right to the end of the lane and then make a quick merge almost causing an accident. What part of “Lane Ends” don’t they understand? I see this sign as informing Christians that God may at any time end their lane. You could be working at a good job for many years and then all of a sudden you are called into the bosses’ office and are let go. You may have reached the person in that job that God wanted you to reach. Remember, we are on this earth as ambassadors of Christ first, jobs and other things in this life are just the means we use to get the Gospel out. You may also have decided to hide your testimony on the job and God may replace you with another Christian who will not hide their testimony.

You see God has changed your lane and now is setting you on a different course, even though you are still headed in the same direction. The Lord could have set you up in a ministry to reach a certain number of people and when that is done, He will move you out of that lane and into another. If you continue in that lane which the Lord has closed down, then you could be heading for disaster, as one who refuses to change lanes on a major highway when you see the sign. In the life of a Christian, God retains the right to send us and use us wherever He chooses. A good example of this sign is when we see a mission field close in a country when a new government takes over. The missionaries are very disappointed because the task is not complete but in God’s eyes they may have completed what He wanted them to complete. Now it may be time for nationals to evangelize.

YIELD RIGHT OF WAY - Normally this sign is at an intersection or it is present when getting on to a highway. The cars that are already on the road we wish to enter have the right of way and it is our responsibility to wait until there is an opening. Yielding in the Christian life may be a humbling experience. We may be working at a job or a ministry for some years and then a new office is being created which means a promotion for someone. You are sure that you will get the promotion but at the last minute you see someone half your age and no experience walking into the new job. Here is the kicker, you are not qualified for the job but you are qualified to train the new person. You see, you must yield the right of way to this person and will need the Lord to prevent a root of bitterness being built up in you. Joseph suffered as a slave for thirteen years in Egypt but because he was so trusting in God and knew that God did not forsake him, he continued to trust God in all the circumstances he faced. This resulted in him becoming Governor of Egypt, which was the number 2 position in that great country. You see, we never know what God has planned for us, even if at the present time we must yield to someone else. If we remain faithful to God, we will remain faithful on our present duties, even if we never see promotion, we are still in God’s mighty plan for our life. Never believe that God has only second best in store for you. God gave you His best, the Lord Jesus Christ, and now He is giving you second best? Perish the thought!

REDUCED SPEED AHEAD - Normally we see this sign when we are on an open road and are coming into a town and we need to reduce our speed normally from 50 mph to 25 mph. This is a sign which reminds me of the hurried nature we have and everything must be done under the tyranny of the urgent. While we want to reach as many people with the Gospel in the shortest amount of time, we must take into account that we are still human beings bound by tired flesh. The idea of burning out for God is not Scriptural. Even the Lord Jesus slowed His disciples down by taking them to a quiet place to be refreshed. There is one thing we Christians must understand and that is the work of evangelism will not be done until the last one is saved. God does not want us going wildly into any venture since that mindset sets us up for failure.
(Prov 15:28 KJV) The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. The word “studieth” in this verse means to “plot.” Now we think that word plot is only used in an evil way but it is a word defined by its usage. Plot may be defined as “cogitate, meditate, or think.” Notice the difference of philosophies in this verse. The righteous, the saved, are the ones who want to deliver a proper answer and that requires study and meditation but the wicked run by the tongue. A solution offered by the instancy of the tongue is not a solution but a recipe for trouble. A solution offered by meditation and study will yield a proper answer. How many have invested money without investigation and have reaped tragedy? Ask those who invested in Enron! When God wants us to slow down and proceed slowly, we keep our foot off the gas. Too many Christians have wreaked havoc in their life by trying to run ahead of God. The key is to wait upon the Lord as He works out the situation, and when He is ready, we will be ready, which will make for a successful endeavor.

QUIET HOSPITAL ZONE - We normally see this one when we are approaching a hospital and we want to be as quiet as possible because there are sick people trying to get well. This sign reminds me of when we attempt to tell God how we should do things. Our responsibility is to preach the Gospel and be witnesses of the same. A problem today is that many churches are tossing out the simple method of evangelism and replacing them with man-centered programs. They are changing the way that Christians have reached people for thousands of years. God gives a simple method in Scripture and that is to just get the Gospel out into the world, not guilt manipulate people in programs. At a time in history when the church should be listening to God, they are supplanting His methods and are suffering failures in their congregations. This should be a warning to all Christians that when we come into God’s presence, we do not tell Him, He tells us.
(Isa 40:13 KJV) Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? What human being, saved or unsaved can counsel the Lord? What counsel does the Lord give us? (Hab 2:20 KJV) But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. God wants us to be silent before Him so He can direct us. How many times do we pray and instead of asking God, we tell Him what is good for us and exactly what we need. The problem is I don’t know what is around the next corner. I may be asking the Lord for a new car and He may send me a wheelchair because as I go around the next corner, I may get hit by a car and become paralyzed. A new car would not help would it? As Christians, it is better for us to be people of few words unless we are witnessing for the Gospel, but in worldly things let us be people of few words. To listen is to learn. I have met too many people in my life who listen with their mouths instead of their ears and that is where we get into trouble.
DEAD END - One of the major pitfalls in the Christian walk is to attach ourselves to things in this life which lead to a dead end. Solomon has detailed in the book of Ecclesiastes the fallacy that riches and pleasure lead to a satisfying life. Many Christians have thrown themselves into other things such as business, their jobs, clubs, lodges, Multi-level marketing, et al, to the neglect of their Christian walk. There are Christians who know more about sports than the Bible, and their Christian walk proves it. Whenever we exchange the walk of our Christianity for the walk of the world, we will never be fulfilled. This world is passing away and with it all the little enticements that seek the attention of the Christians. There is nothing wrong with going on vacation or even going to a ball game, but if worldly pursuits become the object of our desires, then our Christian walk will reach a dead end. God expects us to use this world and its fullness not as a goal but as a means to fulfill our part in the Great Commission. It is definitely possible to serve the Lord and do our worldly duties in concert with each other. When you pay a bill, throw a tract in the envelope. If you receive a Business Reply Envelope in an advertisement, don’t toss it out, just drop a tract in it and send it back. You don’t know who will receive it plus they may become saved. Use everything in this world which is at your disposal to be an evangelist. In your lifetime, you may reach thousands of people without realizing it. Reaching people for Christ is never a dead end. We don’t know who God will save but we must be faithful in our duties to Christ first.
These five traffic signs can give us a little insight into our own mobile Christian walk. To stop, yield, slow down, avoid dead ends, and be quiet sounds like good advice from the Scriptures. While we are to be active in our Christian walk, we are not to be like fools in our approach to it. (Prov 14:16 KJV) A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. One of the most dangerous things a Christian can be is over-confident. Confidence in our Christian walk is fine but when we become over-confident, we transfer that confidence from the Lord to ourselves and that is when we do not see the road signs along the way. God will guide us but we must be willing and humble enough to receive that guidance in the right spirit and not take it as a personal attack upon us. Remember, God reserves the right to position His troops wherever He desires. Those who remain malleable in the hands of the Lord are destined to a great Christian walk but those who harden themselves will not see the guideposts along the way and will derail.  (10/8/04)