Tick, tock, tick, tock….seconds. One of times smallest increments for measurement yet one that can have the most impact on the direction of one’s life. It is in the breath that separates each second that some of our most important decisions are made.
Tick tock…a person pulls the trigger of a gun. Not only ending the victim’s life but the life of the one who pulled the trigger. Tick tock … a word spoken in anger ends a business relationship that is poised to benefit both parties for years to come. Tick tock… the decision between exposure or a cover-up that destroys careers and tarnishes organizations forever. Tick tock… the decision to resist or give into a temptation that will redefine your life if exposed. Tick tock-sometimes it’s the lifetime lived between seconds that defines success and failure and what our reality will look like.
I have found myself meditating on the split second decisions of life lately. How can a man or woman who by all accounts is considered a decent person do something that in seconds can unravel a lifetime of good? We are all familiar with the truly evil people in this world but I choose to think they are the rarity and not the norm. That being said, why do we find ourselves so often reading about a tragedy and hearing the common refrain, “They always seemed so nice?” Even worse are the moments that you look up from your own actions and in confusion wonder, “Oh God…why did I do that? How did I get here?”
The more I ponder this affliction of humanity, and I’m unsure what else to call it, I am convinced that the decisions that we attribute to seconds of madness are never that simply explained. For every split second decision that brings destruction there has been a corresponding erosion of character that has been ongoing and has now finally borne fruit.
May I propose a question? When was the last time that you sat down to examine your life and examined your heart in such a clear and concise manner that the boundary lines of your convictions were etched so deeply into your conscience that crossing them would be near impossible?
We live in a world where moral convictions are seen as negotiable. The treasure of true love has been lost in celebrity marriages that last less time than it takes the courthouse to process their marriage certificates. Virginity is no longer something to treasure but something we so easily throw away. Wealthy people find new ways to steal from the poor. A politician who stands for their conviction is unelectable because they refuse to make a list of promises they know can never be kept. Even in the House of God where we would hope to find a difference there is no end to the evil being done and hidden behind the name of God.
Proverbs 6:10 – 11 (NKJV)
10A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep—11So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.
I believe that the above passage may unlock an important clue. The fateful decisions made in seconds unfortunately start when we get lazy. A little sleep, a little folding of the hands can lead us into that most dangerous place, negotiating with our convictions. When we start to let down our guard and compromise what we know to be truth the road we are on is not only slippery but hazardous.
We are all under stress, be it financial, relational, maybe even physical. The list can go on and on. What parent after several years of raising a teenager hasn’t felt so emotionally exhausted that it takes a supreme effort to not give up and stop parenting? How many unemployed people have hit such lows that they now contemplate thing that would have at one time seemed unthinkable. Explanations for failure can always be forthcoming but that still doesn’t negate the devastation left in their wake. Pressure by its very definition causes strain, anxiety and disillusionment but can I suggest today that we have to find a new level of strength to be the over comers that we have been called to be. God not only wants to see you survive but he wants to see you thrive in the life He has given you.
Pressure needs to become a warning sign that it is time to retrench your convictions. It is time to make sure there are no holes in the fences of our beliefs. When we make the decision to live within our boundaries there is a power that I believe God releases to live a life of conviction and victory. God can’t and won’t make you do what is right. The power of free will is so sacred that God will never bypass it no matter how much we pray or beg. Instead of praying for God to miraculously deliver us from temptation can we begin to ask Him, “Lord what step can I take today that will prevent me from a disaster someplace in my life when faced with a split second decision?”
Tick Tock…seconds are coming and going. We are all living within the breath of those seconds; decisions are being made that can determine what is to come. You are in a fight for your future! Don’t let those seconds be dictated by a life of wavering convictions. Dig deep my friend. Dig deep…we all have way too much to lose, but we also have everything to gain.
1 Corinthians 10:12 – 13 (TMSG)
12Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence. 13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.