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Constantly on guard
- Jacob Ninan
The Bible says that those who think they are standing ought to take care lest they fall (1Co.10:12). Why is it that we tend to take no care at times?
We may think that we have reached such a level of spiritual maturity that we can't fall. We get an attitude that we know better than the others and that we know how to tackle temptations (1Co.8:1). We may have had some special experience with God that makes us feel we are not ordinary people. We may think we are some special favourites of God, based on a special ministry, knowledge or experience, and that God won't allow us to fall.
We may believe a wrong doctrine that we are wholly sanctified and that the possibility of temptation has been taken away.
We may not have failed for some time in some particular area and we may think that we have 'victory' (at last!). It is this that I would like to look at now.
What is victory? When we are tempted, if we give in, that is failure, and if don't give in, that is victory. Of course, to be tempted itself is not sin, because Jesus also was tempted in every way that we are (He.4:15). If we have not fallen for some time now, it could mean that either we have been overcoming temptation every time, or that there hasn't been any strong temptation coming our way recently! If we have been having a comparatively easy time recently it doesn't mean we have victory. And, if we have been overcoming temptations every time it doesn't mean that suddenly a more powerful temptation cannot come!
Some people assume a false comfort from the promise of God that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability (1Co.10:13). But we must note the rest of the verse that says that with each temptation He will provide a way of escape. What if we aren't looking for that way or don't choose it at any time?
We mustn't forget the fact that Satan is a master strategist. He may give us a time of ease so that we can be off guard and then suddenly attack us with a temptation. He is also no gentleman. He may choose a time when we are physically or mentally tired to send us a quick temptation. This does not contradict 1Co.10:13, because God is still in control and He will not allow anything to come to us which is too much for us. But we may get caught off guard because we haven't been watching.
Jesus tells us to watch and pray, and the apostles tell us to be on guard at all time, not only for us but for others too (Mt.26:41;Ep.6:18).. Jesus gives us a special pointer on avoiding discouragement (Lk.18:1). Peter tells us - and this is probably coming out of anguish at the memory of his own fall - to be on the alert at all times because Satan is roaming around looking for someone whom he can catch napping (1Pe.5:8)..
Any one can fall, if he is careless. And we can be careless at any time, no matter how much we have walked with God or known Him. Let us learn to watch and pray, humbly.