Summary: This message focuses on how our first response to situations will often prove or disprove our confessions of walking in faith.
Scriptures: Eph. 6:12; Prov. 3:5-6; Acts 2:14-16; Gal. 2:11-14
Last week I woke up to find that our heater for our home was broken. Later that day I was told by my daughter (who was actually vacuuming) that the vacuum cleaner was broken. The first words that came out of why mouth without any hesitation was “Why is everything breaking…” and then I caught myself. You see, my first response upon hearing about the vacuum being broken was to go to that place that says “When it rains it pours!” However, I caught myself and told my daughter that I was not going to speak those words into existence. Instead I said “by faith I proclaim that everything will be taken care of!” In that minute my mind shifted from “Woe is me” to “God will fix it.” My thinking was transformed from another bill has been created to I am blessed that the funds will be there when needed because God is taking care of it. By the way, Nikki had made sure that we had a warranty so the heater did not end costing us anything.
If you have been down to the basement you know that part of the ceiling caved in because of the air/heating ductwork detached from the ceiling. My first response was “Anger at how it could happen; what would the cost be; and would this delay our plans to pay off this building.” God refocused my mind on the understanding that it could have been a lot worse had it came down while people were there. He took my mind to this is a learning opportunity for us and that although this happened He had been looking out for us. The ceiling came down on Monday morning but it could have come down the day before while we were all down there celebrating Mr. Ernest birthday. So thinking along these lines I found it easy to give God praise for what did not happen versus focusing and lamenting on what did happen.
The reason I am sharing this with you is because I want to put myself in the “hot seat.” I know that I walk by faith, but I am as guilty as anyone else of allowing my “first response” to demonstrate areas where I am okay walking in faith and in areas where I might need reminders that I am “supposed” to be walking in faith. With my heater and the ceiling coming down in the basement, I had to be “reminded. In both situations my first response was not seeing God taking care of it or how God had prevented something worse from happening; it was to look at what would be the results of what did happen. Although my mind eventually came to where it needed to be, I would have expected “me” by now to have that response be my “initial” response versus my “delayed” response. I want to make sure you know in this message and any message that follows that I am not a completed work and I am still pressing towards the mark and the finish line.
The title of my message this morning is “First Response” and if I am not able to get it all in this message, I will carry this over to the first Sunday in February as next Sunday is youth Sunday. The first response is that initial response you have to a situation; it is that response that can be described as a “knee jerk reaction.” By definition a knee jerk reaction is “an immediate unthinking emotional reaction produced by an event or statement to which the reacting person is highly sensitive; - in persons with strong feelings on a topic, it may be very predictable.” The key phrase in this definition is “unthinking emotional reaction.” This reaction is an initial, immediate reaction that comes without first thinking about how you will respond - you respond before you even think about it or may even be aware that you are responding. This is especially true if the person has very strong feelings about a particular topic. When the situation arises, the reaction is immediate. Keep this in mind as I shift for a just moment to the term “first responder.”
In an emergency situation, the first responder by definition is that person who arrives on the scene who has been trained or certified to provide medical care in an emergency until more highly trained individuals arrive. The official term is not describing the first person on the scene, but the first person who arrives who has been trained to provide immediate medical care. This could be a policeman, EMT, fireman, etc. These individuals are trained so that when they arrive on the scene of an emergency, they quickly assess the emergency; provide immediate care to stabilize the patient until others arrive. In order for them to accomplish this task, they have to be able to separate what is important from what is not important. They must triage the situation to determine what (and who) needs immediate attention and what can be handled later. In some cases these can be life or death decisions. Let me illustrate this situation to you.