RITE OF PASSAGE: Slight mistake
Lately, I’ve been a little concerned about my health. I went to the eye doctor, and he told me I have a slight cataract. Now, there are certain words and phrases you don’t like to hear from your doctor during an exam. You don’t want to hear, “Oh, no!” or “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Even the word “slight” didn’t make me feel good at all. Exactly what is a slight heart attack, a slight stroke or a slight cataract? As far as I can tell, it’s nothing more than a way for a doctor to communicate, “Hey buddy, it could have been a lot worse.”
In addition to my vision problems, I have been concerned about my weight and blood pressure. For months, I have been exercising. I cut out all soft drinks except the Diet Rite I had at a Super Bowl party the other day. Diet Rite: the soft drink with no caffeine, no calories, no sodium and no taste. After two months of working hard and watching what I ate, I found I had gained six pounds. My sweet wife told me the extra weight was probably . . . muscle mass. I wasn’t so sure.
Next, I noticed my blood pressure climbing. I never have had high blood pressure or high cholesterol; in fact, I have enjoyed great health most of my life. But with Adam’s curse now personally affecting me, I began to pay more attention to my lifestyle. I bought one of those fancy blood pressure cuffs that wrap around your wrist. Every night, I put it on, pushed the button and let it whiz and whirl. I felt my blood pumping as the machine took its reading. The numbers popped onto the screen and the cuff deflated.
I recorded my blood pressure every night. After several weeks of high readings, I became alarmed. While traveling, I had dinner with a doctor. I told him about my concerns, and he recommended that I visit my regular doctor to see about medication.
On Super Bowl Sunday, my blood pressure was 171/101, a near-dangerous level.
This past week, I went to see my doctor. He took my blood pressure and asked what was wrong. When I told him about the high readings, he said, “There is nothing wrong with your blood pressure. In fact, it is great!” He checked it three times and found it normal every time. He asked me to go home, get my blood pressure cuff and come back.
The next day, I returned to his office to compare my readings to the ones from his machine. We soon discovered that my blood pressure cuff was defective and had given false readings all along. I didn’t have high blood pressure after all. I am healthy as a horse . . . except for a “slight” weight problem. The false readings caused weeks of concern for nothing. The doctor told me to throw away my machine. He said the only accurate blood pressure readings come from a stethoscope and cuff wrapped to fit your arm, not from a machine at the drugstore or in . . . your home.
The blood pressure problem I didn’t have reminds me of the lies the enemy tells us as parents. He pushes us to value the things of the world rather than the treasures we have in Heaven. Before long, the world becomes our gauge.
God gave His Holy Word as the true gauge and standard for your family’s life together. The enemy whispers, “It’s only a phase” or, “It’s OK to let your children go against your values just this once.” We let our guard down based on a false standard . . . and little attitudes grow up to be big ones.
Sometimes, the world’s gauge gives another false reading. Because we value the things of the world, we work hard—often too hard—to provide our children with bigger and better toys, cell phones, cars and more. We want them to play on the best sports teams, have the best music teachers, go to the best schools and, one day, attend the best colleges.
God has placed the desire to provide for your children deep within you. But are you measuring your life according to a bigger, better standard that fades away or the truths of His eternal Word? Do your children know that you delight in the things of God, or do they watch silently as you chase success, power or some other hunger that drives you to destruction?
Mom and Dad, God has appointed you the gatekeepers for your children’s hearts. Measure life according to His standards. He never gives a false reading, and His gauge measures accurately . . . every time.