I was stopped behind the school bus, flashing lights, stop signs and all. A little girl came running on the pathway from her front door to the bus, but before she got on the bus, she stopped at the edge of the road, looked both ways, and then continued her journey onto the bus. I found myself chuckling as I thought, “Wow, they still teach kids to look both ways before they cross.” With all the talk of changes in education, who would have thought. Must be there are some things that are just basic and essential for all people in all times. Safety on the road requires that you look before you cross.
My mind went to a phrase in the Bible, “Stay alert.” Maybe the idea of looking both ways is good advice for the Christian as we get out of bed each morning and face a world with many different dangers on the road of life. Perhaps we need to start each day with a recognition that each day offers joys and blessings for which we can be grateful for, but each day also has potential dangers that can hit us and hurt us if we are unaware.
Peter put it like this:
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.
– 1 Peter 5:8-9
As we face each day, we don’t need to be terrified and frightened to walk the road of life, but we do need to be alert, aware of our surroundings, and aware of the possible temptations that might “hit” us is we are not looking both ways.
The temptations to hold on to my grudges and anger toward others, may leave me worn and empty.
The temptations to acquire wealth and material success are ever present and may lead me to see my education only as dollars spent and dollars earned later. I may be tempted to see learning as a means to a end, the end of making lots of money.
The temptations of porn might hit me and lead me away from God’s best for me and leave scars for the future.
The temptations to make friends at drinking parties that encourage a hookup culture with no consideration to what this does to my soul.
It’s not really my point, to address or highlight any of these issues or temptations per se, but rather to say that as we face each day there are potential dangers. It is true of the child who is just discovering a bigger world that has real roads, real cars and trucks, and real accidents and death for those who live unaware or careless. It is also true of Christian living and discipleship. There are dangers, things that will fight against our walk and relationship with Christ. There are temptations that seem to offer all that we have ever wanted but lead us away from God’s way of abundant life.
Perhaps we would be served well to learn the habit of beginning each day, with gratitude to the Lord who loves and cares for us and His world, and to “look both ways” at the beginning of the day to be alert, aware, and cautious of the dangers that might pull us away from Jesus Christ, the life he offers, and the life we long to live.