Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
In the previous verses of chapter 10, Paul is reminding the Corinthians of the sins of the Isralites in the wilderness and how those sins led to their destruction. In verse 11 he notes that these things were recorded in the Word for our instruction.
When I read verse 12 I see it as a warning against pride. This is probably because of my own history. I became a Christian as a teenager during the Jesus movement of the 70’s. I was convinced that I would never abandon my faith, but that is exactly what I did once I got out on my own.
I spent the next twenty years on a spiritual roller coaster … never feeling I could measure up to God’s standards, which is true. None of us can, which is why He sent Jesus to take on the punishment of our sins. I would give in to temptation and instead of running to God for forgiveness, I would run away in shame. God spent years tolerating my prodigal lifestyle, but He never stopped pursuing me.
At some point, I finally got it. I let go of my pride and acknowledged, God, I cannot do this on my own. I determined that moving forward, WHEN (not if) I sinned, I would humbly run to God, repent and ask for His forgiveness, instead of using my failures as a excuse to give up.
You may ask, what does that have to do with pride. I was trying to serve God in my own strength. When I failed, I let condemnation and shame drive me to just give up. Trust me, I have blown it many times since I made the commitment to fight for my faith. I have allowed God to teach me through the consequences of my actions and my faith is now deeper than it’s ever been.
My relationship with God isn’t based on my performance. It’s based on my love for God and dependance on Him.
I KNOW there is a constant war between my flesh and my spirit, and like Paul, I realize I cannot win this war through willpower.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.(Romans 7:15-19 ESV)
Even Paul, a pillar of the faith, acknowledged his sin struggle. These verses reflect a humble spirit. He doesn’t excuse his sin, but realizes he cannot win this spiritual war on his own. God will always make a way of escape when we are tempted, the problem is we often choose to ignore it.
Prayer: Lord, I am so thankful that You never give up on me. I am so thankful that You love me in spite of my sinful nature. Thank You for your unfailing mercy. Lord, keep me humble. When I am weak, You are strong.
I long for the day when my spirit will be set free from this fleshly body which continually wars against my spirit. Thank You Father for clothing me in the righteousness of Christ, and helping me to see that in the flesh, my righteousness is like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) My reliance is on You Jesus, and the blood of the cross. I am more than a conqueror IN CHRIST.