Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Where is your Spiritual Traffic Light?

Our son's kindergarten teacher has implemented a new traffic light system.  I guess it's been harder to keep the 20+ kids to pay attention in class lately.  You get a bunch of kids together, they are bound to fool around.

Every student starts the day on a green light.  As kids start fooling around they get warnings.  Repeated warnings move you to the yellow light.  The child is asked to think about how to make good decisions and how to behave better.  Continued misbehavior moves you to the red light where she sends a note or calls home so that the parents can speak with the child at home regarding his/her behavior.  At the beginning of each day each student starts with a clean slate, back on the green light again.

What I like about this concept is that it's not all about policing the kids.  The goal is to get the kids to think about their actions while they are on yellow so that they can learn to make better choices in the future.  Hopefully as time goes on, they won't need warnings and stay on the green light on their own.  And I think it's working.  My son often comes home and gives me a thumbs up saying, "It's a green day!"

I have started adapting this at home too.  Because I'm tired of yelling.  I want him to think about his actions and choose what is better.  I don't want to be the tyrant.  I want to guide him and teach him.  So now we try to stay on the green light at home too.

How about you and me?  It dawned on me that I can use this concept in my spiritual life.  What am I doing daily to stay on the green light?  Are there things in my life, attitudes in my heart, inching me toward the yellow light?  Am I driving with a heavy foot, trying to sneak through the yellow, only to get caught with a ticket running through a red light?  Am I living my life too fast to notice the traffic signal and ending up breaking hard at the crosswalk?

Remember, friends, God gives us the Holy Spirit and scripture to guide us through this life.  He wants what is best for you.  He wants you to grow and make good decisions on your own.  How are we going to hear what God has to say to us?  Spend time reading the scriptures and pray.  Is the Holy Spirit warning you about anything?  Teaching you about anything?

When I was a teenager, I showed my mom my report card.  She was disappointed that one of my grades went from a 96 to a 95.  My goodness.  What can I do to earn her approval?  So I asked my teacher if I could bump my grade up by doing some extra credit work.  And it worked.  I got my 95 bumped up to a 96.  I happily showed my mom who said, "It doesn't matter to me whether you get a 95 or a 96.  I want you to want high grades without me telling you to."

God would love to see us like minded with him.  It's not about earning approval.  Dear friends, God is not suppose to be a tyrant.  He loves us like a parent.  He wants to train us for the better.  He desires us to love what he loves and to live that way too.  And you know what, even if we miss occasionally, it's okay.  Because that ticket you got for going through that spiritual red light, it's been paid for by Jesus.  That sin of pride or greed has been spotted by God, but he forgives those who repents and confess it (I John 1:9).  And lucky us, we get to start on the green light every day.  Because His compassions never fail.  For his mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness (Lam 3:23).

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