How Do You Stand?

The Information Age has brought us many good things. The Internet has opened worlds of possibilities to us. Medicines now control or cure numerous diseases and conditions that not long ago meant certain imminent death We have access to on-demand news streams 24/7 to tell us what is going on anywhere in the world at any given time. The Word of God is transmitted on radio, television, and Internet constantly.
All of these things are wonderful, but there is a dark side to all of this unparalleled access. Human trafficking, pornography, bullying and hate speech are probably at an all time high. While access to true Biblical teaching has increased, access to false Biblical teaching has likewise increased. Paul warned Timothy, and you and me, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3 ESV).

It is easier than ever to find someone who will preach “a different gospel”, one which doesn’t convict you of sin or call upon you to repent. Paul addresses the church in Galatia, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one…” (Galatians 1:6-7a ESV).

I’ve always believed that it is not the responsibility of the church to ensure my spiritual growth, but rather it is my own responsibility. The church will be held accountable for providing us with the tools for spiritual growth. Unfortunately, many churches are providing instead a feeling that everything is alright with you because you prayed a prayer, that you have been saved and that church attendance, and perhaps financial giving, are where your responsibility ends. This is a dangerous place in which to live.

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12-13 ESV). I don’t for a minute believe that God wants us trembling in fear, or walking on egg shells. I don’t believe that He wants us constantly living in fear of judgment. But he doesn’t, even for a second, want us to think that we stand by our own efforts. When we do so we position ourselves blindfolded on a precipice. It is not a matter of if we fall, but when.

Jesus has already provided for our salvation. He has also provided us with a way of escape for each and every time we face temptation. We will fail, and we will fall. How we stand will determine the distance we fall. If we put our trust and faith in the work that Jesus accomplished through his death and resurrection, we fall gently into His hands. If we put our trust in our own abilities, our own strength, and our own righteousness, our fall will be long and hard.

“Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12 ESV).

 

**image from https://interlitq.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/the-most-fatal-thing-a-man-can-do-is-try-to-stand-alone-carson-mccullers/

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