A couple years ago, a police officer knocked on our front door — in the middle of the night.

Dave and I were both sound asleep, and my first thought was that we were being robbed — obviously  I was sleep deprived. What robber knocks?? We warily approached the door, where a very nice cop was standing, her car in our driveway. Dave opened the door and the officer apologized for waking us.

“But,” she said. “Your garage door is open, and we have had some robberies in the area. I wanted to make sure you were all right and that you knew to shut and lock your garage.”

We thanked her and promptly obeyed, walking around the house to make sure no unsavory characters had made the same discovery the cop had made.

While we didn’t enjoy having our sleep disrupted, we were grateful. Who knows what that nice officer may have saved us from!

I thought about that incident for days, and I couldn’t help but compare that police officer to the Holy Spirit. Just like Dave and I left our house unprotected, sometimes we leave our minds and hearts unprotected — we put ourselves in situations where the door to sin is wide open. The temptation is right there. The Holy Spirit warns us – through a gentle reminder, the words of a friend or pastor, a passage of scripture that comes to mind– and we have to make a choice.

Sadly, I find that it was far easier to obey that cop than it is to obey the Holy Spirit. I didn’t argue with the officer. I didn’t justify why leaving the garage open would be all right. I didn’t say, “No one will come to MY house. I’m going back to bed.” I shut that garage! Then I locked the door to the garage. And, for good measure, Dave stuck the key in and set the deadbolt on the door to the garage. We even checked the other doors, just to be sure our house was safe from would-be robbers.

How sad that I care more for my house than my soul.

When the Holy Spirit warns me — “You need to forgive that person.”; “You shouldn’t be watching that show.”; “Respond with gentle words, not harsh ones.” — I rarely obey immediately. More often than I should, I ignore the warnings: I don’t forgive, I keep watching, I spit out a mean response. Then later, I reap the consequences. I ALWAYS regret not heeding the Spirit’s voice. Why do I refuse to listen?? When He is giving me help far greater than any police officer on the planet?

God used that officer for more than just a physical wake-up. It was a spiritual wake-up, as well. A reminder to heed His words, His warnings, to stay within His protection.

“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” II Timothy 1:13-14

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