If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12
A child holds a family heirloom for the first time. “Be careful!” his mother warns. “We don’t want to break it.”
The sidewalks and roads are icy, when a loved one ventures out. “Be careful!” someone warns.
Some friends are hiking along a trail. The terrain is uneven. One misstep could send someone tumbling down the steep hill to certain injury or even death. “Be careful!” the leader warns.
We need such warnings in our spiritual lives too. We face temptations every day. The devil wants us to think those temptations are no big deal. Either it won’t really hurt us if we do what he wants us to do, or we are strong enough not to give in.
But God warns us, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” The devil is not your friend. His temptations are not games. If you let your guard down, if you underestimate the enemy, you will fall.
And every spiritual fall is fatal. Whether you are tempted to lust or to lie, to hurt or to hate, to ignore someone in need or to ignore God’s Word, every misstep wreaks havoc on our relationship with our heavenly Father. And the devil’s ultimate goal is to lead us to turn our backs on God entirely, so that we miss out on his mercy, so that we miss out on heaven.
The devil desperately wanted Jesus to fall too. God sent Jesus to fight the devil in our place. If Jesus gave in to temptation, God’s plan to save us from sin and death would fail. But Jesus never let his guard down. He didn’t listen to the devil’s whispers or believe his lies. He didn’t fall. Jesus won the fight. The devil lost.
Now Jesus doesn’t leave us to face temptation alone. Whenever we are tempted, we cry out to him for help, and through his Word he arms us for battle to give us the victory.
Jesus, I am weak. You are strong. When I am tempted, give me your strength. When I fall, forgive me for your mercy’s sake. Amen.