Saturday, May 23, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Lessons?

So I'm reading along today in I Corinthians 10, and I come across this, Paul talking about lessons from the past and the way the Israelites really screwed up:

  • But just experiencing God's wonder and grace didn't seem to mean much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased.
  • 6-10The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—"First the people partied, then they threw a dance." We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with 23,000 deaths in one day! We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them.
  • 11-12These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were.
  • Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence.
  • 13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.
  • 14So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.

I know, it's a long passage. But so chock full of great stuff!

That said, I have a question. Why is this so hard for us to learn?

In my life, I always have believed that I would never fall prey to some sins. They were too big, or so terrible that I could never imagine myself committing them. I had a strong faith and good relationships with God and others. How could anything that bad happen? I knew what the bible said, and I knew that technically I could commit one of those sins, but really -- what were the chances? It was like those experts they put on the witness stands in movies -- they make them admit that there might possibly be a one-millionth of one percent chance that this or that could happen.

HOWEVER . . . I have sections of my life that I'd just like to cut out and throw into some kind of eternal fire that leaves no ashes or evidence of any kind. I'd like to go back in time and have a re-do. Where is the eraser? I look back at those times and I marvel at the person I was -- totally unrecognizable. I think to myself 'that wasn't me. Who was that person?'

Well, it was me, and there you go. None of us -- no powerful politician, no respected pastor, no wonderful parent that loves you, no sibling with a perfect marriage -- nobody is exempt. It may be a shock to learn that they've done some horrible thing, but then again -- why? Aren't we all susceptible?

That's why Paul warns us to be on our guard. Essentially, he tells us to never say never. He's so right! How I wish I didn't know this so personally! It is naive to think that we are somehow put in a special group of folks that will never do some big bad thing. Sometimes, we get so damaged by our circumstances that we become a person that nobody recognizes anymore as us. We do things we never thought we'd even think of doing.

And let's not forget that Satan is always looking to exploit any weakness, any little cracks in our walls. A little tiny crack in a dam can be responsible for an entire lake flooding a very, very big area and doing one heap of a lot of damage.

I know all too well that the ground at the foot of the cross is level. Nobody is better than anybody else. I live every day thankful that I have a God who loves me that much, and who empowers others to love me that much as well. And I do little checks with myself from time to time -- any cracks in the dam? Any stresses of life that are pushing me toward some big bad sin? Any thoughts coming in too often and lingering too long? Any junk that needs clearing out in my heart? Any pride rising up in my, only to go before the fall?

So this is me, today, cultivating God-confidence, knowing that the next step could be a stumble. The words "My gracious Redeemer, My Saviour art thou, If ever I loved Thee, My Jesus it's now" couldn't be more true . . .


1 Comment:

Debbie said...

You are right. That passage was full of tings we all need to think about.