by Michael L. King
The world is characterized by change and unpredictability. Earthquakes have ravaged many cities through the years and claimed an untold number of lives. The uncertainty as to when an earthquake might occur creates unrest and fear in the lives of those who live near a faulted area. Some major cities around the world have learned to adapt to this element of nature having the power to pull down multi-storied buildings. They have incorporated into the superstructure rubber mounts that have the ability to absorb, yield, and compensate for the movement of the earth beneath. The building, therefore, experiences very little trauma because of these added buffers.
Paul realized the necessity of resisting the influence being wielded by life’s daily assaults. In order to maintain some semblance of balance, consistency, and regularity, he had to “bring it [his body] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Someone made a comment to the effect that “Life is so difficult because it is so everyday.” “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). There is never a time when the Christian is not “on duty,” for a moment of inattentiveness may be the time when the devil moves in to discourage a struggling Christian or to steal his faith away.
Each soul is subjected to the temptations and throes of sin. Paul so stated in Romans 3:9,10,23. The truth of the matter is that none is righteous, all have sinned, and we have all gone out of the way. God does not tempt man with evil, but Satan, who has been called “the Tempter,” does tempt by placing evil before man, and causing him to be drawn away from the right path by his own lust (James 1:13,14).
Someone provided me with a copy of an interesting little prayer that I found amusing, but rather true to form. “Dear Lord, so far today, God, I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent. I’m really glad about that. But in a few minutes, Lord, I’ll be getting out of bed, and from then on I’m probably going to need a lot more help. Amen.”
The early church realized how difficult it was to remain balanced. They “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). “Steadfastly” means “consistently” or “with regularity.” The Hebrews writer was inspired to remind of the importance of worship as we “provoke unto love and to good works.” We must exhort “one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24,25).
While Christians are awaiting the second coming of Jesus, God knew that some would “become weary in well-doing,” so he admonished them to remember that “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). A preventative measure for the Galatians was to “do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (verse 10).
It is not as critical whether we fall as it is to whether we get up. The temptations that would undermine our faith and goodness are “common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Christians must be aware of their vulnerability to temptations, because at the very time one thinks that he is beyond being reached by the Devil’s devices, he can be tempted and fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). Prevention is much better than cure, although God will see to it that we are not tempted beyond our ability to resist and will “make a way of escape” for us as well (v. 13).
Allow yourself to be admonished to be “steadfast” in assembling with fellow believers for worship. Spend much time in prayer, study the Word to shield your faith, and remember often the Lord’s death with provisions and promises for our resurrection. Give meditative thought to heaven and the alternative to going there. Develop a “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). “Resist the devil and he will flee from you, draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7). The spiritual man requires maintenance just like the physical body, lest he die!
by Michael L. King