4 Proven Actions To Avoid Spiritual Danger Zones In Your Life

Photo by Deanna

Photo by Deanna

Mountain Road Guardrails Save Lives

Mountain roads are the most dangerous roads.

There’s not a lot of margin when you’re driving on a mountain road. It’s either stay on the road and live, or drive off the side of the mountain and die. That’s it.

And, believe it or not, many of the mountain roads around the world have very few safety features such as guardrails to keep people from driving off the side of a mountain.

I recently read a story from November 2005, when a missionary was driving the dangerous mountain roads of Northern Bosnia–Herzegovina with a couple of pastors. The weather was terrible, but they were driving cautiously as they navigated their way to a conference. The majority of these Bosnian roads have no guardrails.

As they came around a curve, they unexpectedly hit a slick spot and started sliding toward the edge of the mountain. A river with jagged rocks was waiting for this missionary and pastors some 40-feet below.

As their car was sliding out of control, the men all cried out “Jesus!” Fortunately, this was one of a few curves on the mountain road that actually had a guardrail. The front bumper of the car hit the guardrail and pushed the car back on the road.

Once the missionary found a safe place to pull over, the all jumped out of the car to take a look. First, they were amazed that there was even a guardrail on this particular curve. Second, they were surprised that the guardrail appeared to be brand new.

The Purpose of Guardrails

Guardrails are designed to keep motor vehicles from straying into dangerous or off-limit areas, just like in the above story. They are normally found on bridges, in medians, and around curves.

Guardrails are a safety design feature that is an almost invisible part of our driving experience. We really don’t even pay attention to them until we need them.

In driving, there needs to be some margin of error. Mistakes will be made. Accidents will happen. The theory behind the guardrail is that your physical body and your vehicle will incur less damage striking the guardrail then if you were to experience whatever is on the other side of that guardrail (such as a drop off or an oncoming car).

So, yes, if you hit a guardrail, there is going to be damage, but it probably won’t be as bad as if you didn’t have that guardrail in the first place.

We Need Guardrails

We as a society need guardrails on the road. They are an important safety feature for all of us.

You and I need “guardrails” in our personal lives, too.

We’ve all had horrible, damaging experiences in our own lives or in the lives of family members. These damaging events may have included a financial bankruptcy, a moral failure, a divorce, bad business practices, or an addiction.

But, if we had included the safety feature of personal guardrails in our lives, these catastrophic events could have been prevented. Yes, some damage may have occurred, but maybe not at the level of the final, destructive outcome we experienced.

4 Actions To Protect Our Spiritual Lives

When I speak of personal guardrails, I’m speaking of taking the following actions to protect us from our own danger zones:

First, you must be honest with yourself and others regarding the areas in which you struggle and are most tempted.

Second, you need to seek out professional help, especially if you really struggle in the area of addictions, to get you back on the road to sobriety.

Third, you must put appropriate rules into place to act as your “guardrails” for your specific area of struggle. For example, if you have a spending problem that led you into bankruptcy in the past, then you must live on a budget and spend only cash; no credit cards or other debt for you. If you are a workaholic and this has damaged your relationship with your family, then you need to establish a strict schedule for work hours and family time. If you struggle with alcoholism, then you can never take even one drink ever again.

Fourth, you need to be accountable to those around you. You need to be accountable to your spouse. You need to be accountable to a trusted friend. You need to be accountable to a group of men or women. You need to check in with them on a regularly basis. Once a week is ideal. Every few weeks is okay. Being accountable to these people means they understand the areas in which you personally struggle and you are completely honest with them with how you are doing in those areas.

Questions: Do you need guardrails to protect you from specific danger zones in your life? Have you constructed these guardrails already? Have you been honest with yourself? Have you sought out professional help? Have you setup some rules? Do you have accountability partners to guide you back to where you really want to go?






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Leadership Is A Stewardship

Photo by WillowCreek D/CH

Photo by WillowCreek D/CH

The Catalyst Podcast

I enjoy listening to the Catalyst podcast regularly. It’s one of a few podcasts that I like to listen to while I’m working out. If you’re familiar with this podcast at all, there are some great leadership quotes by well-known leaders spoken in the front-end bumper music portion of the program.

My favorite quote in the opening bumper is Andy Stanley‘s statement, “Leadership is a stewardship. It is temporary, and you’re accountable.” This is a simple, yet profound statement that always causes me to pause and reflect on my own leadership of those I have been called to lead.

The Stewardship of Leadership

Stewardship. There’s one of those fancy, King James Bible kind-of words. A simple definition of the word is “management.” A steward is simply a manager of the owner’s property.

Because of its connection with God’s Word, I also believe stewardship has a very serious, spiritual connection. It’s not simply a management role. Stewardship is a spiritual discipline that Christians are expected to engage in. We have all been called to manage well everything that God has given to us manage in our temporal life here on earth: our personal finances, our possessions, our talents, our families, and our career calling.

If God has made you a leader, then He’s expecting you to manage with excellence your leadership role, however big or small that role may be.

You Will Be Held Accountable

The second half of Andy’s statemement “ … It is temporary, and you’re accountable” is where this whole stewardship concept can get a little scary. There is coming a day for all who follow Christ in which we will hand off the leadership baton to others and then give an account to God of our management ability of what He has asked us to manage.

I’m reminded of these New Testament passages in regard to the accountability of our stewardship of leadership:

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you (Hebrews 13:17).

Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer’ (Luke 16:1-2).

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God (Romans 14:11-12).

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13).

One day, we will all give an account to God for our management abilities. For those of us who are leaders, especially within the church, we will be held to a higher standard than other believers.

I would encourage all of us to live and lead today as though our personal evaluations by God will be held tomorrow.

Question: In light of this revelation that the management of your leadership role will be evaluated by God Himself, how will you lead differently, now?