So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! – 1Cor. 10:12 NIV
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The Apostle Paul as part of the closing remarks of his first letter to the Corinthians, had decided to give them advise on how to avoid things that can make them lose the Grace that they were enjoying in Christ Jesus. He needed to let them know that being beneficiaries of a good lifestyle, courtesy of their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, was not an insurance against getting punished by the Almighty God, should they derail from his instructions. The same God who is good to them can also be the one that will war against them, should they get involved in activities that he considers evil. Evil, as far as Jehovah is concerned, will mean acts of immorality and wickedness and will always be sufficient reason for the Christian to lose the Grace of God.
In order to buttress this point, he referred to events that happened to the Israelites who had left Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land, with Jehovah Himself, leading them using Moses as His human representative and Pillars of Cloud and Fire – Exo. 13:17-22. It was under these physical guides that they went through the Red Sea, in an event that can be considered as their baptism into the Old Covenant dispensation as represented by Moses. They also enjoyed the spiritual Grace of eating and drinking spiritual food, which is Manna and spiritual drink, which is the Water from the Rock, that biblical scholars have come to conclude to be Christ impersonated. All these close association and evidence of their preciousness to Jehovah did not stop that same Jehovah from scattering their bodies in desert, when they were found guilty of doing evil – 1Cor. 10:1-6.
As stated by Paul, Jehovah does not punish only acts of evil but even the thoughts of evil. Merely thinking evil by anyone in general but more importantly, people that he considers dear to Him, is sufficient for such to experience His wrath – 1Cor. 10:6.
Although the boundary of immorality and wickedness is not limited to the cases he cited, he gave three examples of the actions of the Israelites who were known by all to be loved by God, but yet He did not hold anything back when He had to punish them. Referencing their acts of Idolatry, sexual immorality and grumbling, he stated the immediate reaction of the Almighty God to these acts, which should serve as a caution for the Christian today, to avoid getting involved in such or similar acts – 1Cor. 10:7-10.
He thus concluded in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional that the Christian, then and today, need to be cautious of these actions that are classed as evil before Him, lest such begins to experience events that will be deemed as fall.
Most people may not really be conscious of these actions, since they are usually not physical events until their effects manifest, as such people believe that they too sufficiently spiritual to be involved with such evil acts. These are usually people who are seen as great men of Faith and have been associated with great spiritual exploits, but that self confidence and high rating by people is always the reason behind their throwing caution to the winds. Moses probably considered all that Jehovah had used him to achieve and how high the people have come to rate him, such that he was not aware that striking a rock he had earlier struck, instead of speaking to it according to the fresh instruction received, was going to be the reason for his downfall – Exo. 17:1-7; Num. 20:8. Just as earlier stated, the penalty does not always wait for the implementation of evil but the mere thought of it is usually sufficient to attract the punishment of Jehovah.
It is therefore not surprising that several events, comparable to falling, occur to people that are considered good believers, as it may just be that they are being punished for the evil which though, they may not have implemented, but is being processed in their thoughts – 1Sam. 6:7.
The Christian may also wonder why the sudden down turn of events around his/her life, wanting to blame such on those usually referred to as enemies. That may not also be true as all such need do, is to do a self examination on the kind of thoughts that is allowed to take root in him/her. The writer of the biblical Book of Proverbs must have known this when he advised the believer to guard his/her heart. According to him, it is those thoughts that determine the course of life and it is from them that life springs from – Prov. 4:23.
These thoughts may not even be against fellow human beings only, but may also be against the Almighty God, as is revealed in the examples stated earlier. This is mostly the case when the situation around the Christian leads to frustration and such becomes careless about what is being thought or said, in reaction. Jehovah, in reacting to the action of Moses, done in frustration, concluded that he did not honour Him before His people, and so prevented Moses from fulfilling the dream of stepping into the Promise Land, after leading them to its border. By this, Jehovah made it clear that allowing oneself to be frustrated by any situation or person will not excuse such from the accompanying punishment for thinking, or worse still, implementing evil. In order to avoid such repercussions, he advised the believer as follows:
- Whatever the temptation may be, it is not new as someone has once experienced such and survived it, so it may not be sufficient excuse to be involved with evil in any form – 1Cor. 10:13a. You are not the first person to encounter such situation and if some people did not fall because of it, then you also have no reason to fall.
- The Christian should be assured and trust the Almighty God at all times that He is faithful and will ensure that the believer is never tempted beyond what he/she can bear – 1Cor. 10:13b. With this, it is implied that every situation that happens to the believer is one that he/she can successfully navigate.
- And when such situations occur, such should believe and look out for the solution which the same God would also have provided – 1Cor. 10:13c. He actually uses the situations to gain glory for Himself by providing the solution. All the believer need do is to remain calm and see Him move to resolve the situation – Exo. 14:13.
Whatever the situation may be, the Christian must avoid allowing it to lead to thinking or implementing evil as such, by so doing will only end up incurring the wrath of God.
May God continue to sustain us through all life’s challenges and guide our thoughts away from thinking evil in Jesus name. Amen.