You're on Candid Camera!
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
I received an unwanted surprise in the mail not long ago. At first I didn't understand why someone was sending me pictures of my Ford F-150, but it suddenly dawned on me that I had received a notice from the Cary Police Department.
My beloved town had installed cameras at key intersections that were designed to take photographs of drivers in the act of running red lights.
Doesn't technology just warm your heart?
It seems that I was one of those drivers . . . and I was looking at the proof! There were three photographs of my truck: the first, in the left turn lane; the second, in the middle of the intersection with the traffic signal above; the third [and the clincher], a close-up of my license plate—POIMENAS.
POIMENAS is the Greek word for shepherds, which is the same word translated pastor in the plural form. When I first got that special license plate, my wife told me she was glad it was in Greek because of the way I drive!
I didn't think that was funny.
The uniqueness of my license plate didn't help my cause any; there was no denying that this black Ford F-150 bearing a license plate with a foreign language definitely belonged to me. The town of Cary instructed me to send 50 dollars by mail or else face further civil action. In the face of such clear evidence, I immediately forked over the money.
I have to admit though it was really odd seeing pictures of me driving through an intersection while overhead [shown clearly in the photograph] the light was as red as Rudolph's nose.
Frankly, I was embarrassed by the whole thing. I had broken the law and someone else had seen me do it. It wasn't a very good feeling—especially for a shepherd.
But that got me thinking: what if we were to go to our mailbox tomorrow and find a surprise letter filled with snapshots of all the things we had done the day before, including facial expressions and captions of the words we had spoken. I wonder how many of the photographs would bring us embarrassment or chagrin.
The Apostle Paul encourages us not to "grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom we have been sealed for the day of redemption."
The truth is, wherever we go we take God's Spirit with us. Whatever we say in private, He hears. Whatever thoughts we think that no one else can see, He sees. I imagine we must grieve Him often.
Unfortunately, we don't have the motivation to stop sinning because we see our sin caught on camera. Frankly, there aren't cameras powerful enough to capture the gossip, pride, and rebellion that can escape our lips and occupy our hearts every day. But God sees it all . . . and it grieves His heart.
So, let's start today by praying that God will open our eyes to see what He sees and give our hearts a sensitivity to even the smallest transgression that might otherwise slip by unnoticed.
Maybe it's not such a bad idea to pretend there's a camera following us . . . or should I say dwelling inside us!
Prayer Point: As you begin or end this day in God's Word, pray for God to give you an awareness of His abiding presence with you. Then pray as the Psalmist often prayed for God to give you clean hands and a pure heart.
Extra Refreshment: Psalms 139, taking special note of verses 22-24, as David prays for God to reveal those sins in his heart which he is not able to see.
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