Take heed lest you fall

by Christine Berglund

“Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV).photo

It is imperative in the Tennessee winds to secure your garden art to the ground. My new metal bird, a gift from my husband, came with spikes to nail his feet down, so he won’t fall into my parsley. The fence posts on the west side of the yard are set into concrete, to carry the extra weight of the wooden fence boards.

We don’t like to set up anything in the garden just to let it get blown down, just like we don’t set ourselves up without stability, or we may end up falling from the load of pride we carry.

It was rather unsettling lately to read an article and comments to the effect that preachers can’t be spiritually impoverished.

This is a dangerous stance to assume.

An Olympic snowboarder was told that she was “guaranteed to win the gold” at the 2006 winter games. She fell. In 2010, she literally “got off track.” In the interview this year, one could sense the extreme pressure she was under for this year’s race.

Spiritual leaders are under similar pressure. They are often looked at as “more spiritual” than others, and that increases their inflated sense of safety for their souls. When they fall, they fall hard.

Romans 12:3 tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. This implies that we ought to think well of ourselves, without being puffed up with pride.

As we become more knowledgeable about the Bible, it can be a very clever trap to let ourselves assume that our souls are automatically more secure. It is precisely when we think we are safe from the Devil that he will attack us with even more cunning and enthusiasm.

It has been my great sorrow to see more than a few preacher friends or their spouses brought low by what should have been unthinkable sins. Why wouldn’t Satan be more zealous to convert someone who is doing marvelous works for God? It seems that the first step is to open the door to sin by proclaiming a higher sense of godliness than others.

When I visit the elderly in the nursing homes — great old warriors who now are unable to even attend a church service — I see spiritual giants. When I witness a young mother wrestling two or three preschoolers in Sunday morning services, I know she might not be having spiritual thoughts all the time — but she could be far superior in her closeness with the Father than I am, as I serenely sit and listen with far less distraction.

Jesus illustrated it best when He allowed the woman in Luke 7:38 to wash His feet and wipe them with her hair. She loved much because she was forgiven much.

We lead, by choice, spiritually sheltered lives in many ways. Getting out of our “ivory towers” and among all kinds of people helps us to see the problem of sin more clearly. We don’t get close to God through knowledge of His word alone. It will not provide immunity from the spots of the world. Sins of the heart are just as odious to our holy God as sins of the flesh. We are never invulnerable to either kind. “The heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Fasten down your faith with humility and with the realization that as we grow spiritually, we have not arrived until we hear, “Well done!”

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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