Today’s Passage – 1 Corinthians 10 – 12
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
I have been saved now for over 20 years, and in that time I have witnessed many who have fallen away from the will of God. Some of them kind of gradually pulled away, slowly retreating from Christian service and from worship. Others never got in all the way in the first place, and just vanished off of the scene almost without notice. Still others have experienced dramatic falls. These were the people that were very active in the ministry, serving wherever they could, attending every service and special meeting; some have even attended Bible College. But then all of a sudden something happens in their life and they are gone. And most of the time no attempt is successful in bringing them back. I remember when I was in Bible college, we had a guy who fit this description. He was a real go getter. He worked his way up into the favor of the pastors and leaders in the church. He was thought by everyone to be the next Lee Roberson. However, one day he got mad about something, and he quit. To my knowledge, he is not even in church today.
I hate to see people fall away. I have seen some fall into immorality; some into liberalism; and some seem to just fade away. I know it is going to happen sometimes, but I really struggle with it. Most of these people who I have witnessed through the years were better Christians than I ever could be. It scares me really. I figure if it could happen to them, it could also certainly happen to me. Our text verse tells us that we had better be careful, because we are not above falling ourselves.
After observing this process through the years, I have noticed some ingredients in some of the people who have fallen, and I believe if we can watch out for these things in our life, striving to keep them away from us, we can avoid falling away.
1 Pride – I have noticed through the years that many of those who have walked away from God had a haughtiness about them; a self-reliance. They were very bold about their walk with the Lord, but they were more dependent upon themselves than Him. They were like Peter when he told the Lord that he would die for Him. In their mind, they could not conceive the possibility of falling away. As I mentioned before, I am afraid. I know that it has only been the grace of God that has kept me straight this far. Years ago, we had a man that was attending our church that had a drinking problem. He gloriously got victory over the alcohol and was doing very well. He boldly asserted that his drinking days were over. Another man in our church who also had a drinking problem in the distant past, one day said to me that this other brother would soon be back on the bottle. I asked him how he could possibly know that. He told me something that I will never forget. He said the man will drink again because he doesn’t fear falling; and unfortunately, he was right. In a short time the man went back to drinking, and left the church.
2 Critical Spirit – I guess this could fall under pride as well. I have observed that many of the people that I have seen leave their Christian faith to go off into the hog pen of this world have been very critical of others who were struggling with sin. They could not understand how another brother or sister didn’t do everything perfectly like they thought they did. These people were very quick to point out the flaws of others, but couldn’t even fathom a problem in their own lives.
3 Workaholic – I want to be careful here that I make myself clear. I am not against work. I love it, perhaps too much so at times. Out of the three ingredients that I am listing here, I would probably most often be guilty in this area. By workaholics, I am talking about people who feel that the work of God is completely dependent upon them. They take the responsibility of the entire church on their shoulders. They feel that if it weren’t for them, the ministry would die. They think that God is dependent upon them, instead of the other way around. These people eventually become frustrated with their lives, and they also get extremely frustrated with others around them that aren’t “puling their weight” as they should. They throw a lot of guilt trips on others who are not as dedicated as they are. They fail to see that they are just a spoke in the wheel, not the hub, which is Christ. Remember, Elijah had this attitude. He thought he was the only one serving God, but he was reminded that God had seven thousand that not bowed the knee to Baal.
Do you see any of these ingredients in your life? You can remove pride by asking the Lord to humble you. Sometimes God has to let you fall in order to humble you; but perhaps you don’t have to let it get that far. You can remove your critical spirit by developing compassion. I find, that just spending some time with hurting, struggling people helps me to develop compassion for them. The ministry is a people business. Sometimes we forget that. The workaholic thing is tough to deal with. But please be assured that God is perfectly capable of running His church without you. You can be a part of the process, and be dedicated and proficient in what you do, but don’t feel that you are the only one that is serving.
I hate to see people fall away. Please, consider these thoughts that I have developed above. I want to serve alongside of the all of the people of this church until the Lord returns. I believe God wants to use all of us to do great things; but we must remember that it is all about Him, not us.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.