So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12)
I went running in the woods in Tourne Park in Mountain Lakes recently. The trail is narrow and rocky at many points, so I was extra careful with my footing in those places. When I reached a part that was a little wider and clearer I thought: “Good, I don’t need to be as careful here; I can let my mind wander. No problem.”
Suddenly I stumbled and fell forward and ended up flat on my face! I was tripped up by a hidden root.
My lips, hands, and knees hurt.
Inspecting my body, the only blood was from some scrapes on my knees. I was glad that falling on a trail is softer than falling in a road!
Only briefly deterred, I resumed my running.
Later, after my wife helped me clean my wounds, I reflected on vigilance. Often, we are good at being vigilant when we know we should be watchful—say during a time of worry, stress and temptation. But it’s easy to feel complacent when everything is going great; and to be less prayerful and alert. That is the dangerous time when temptation trips us like a hidden root and we stumble!
How can we keep from stumbling?
We may think that standing firm depends primarily on keeping our guard up to the best of our ability. It depends on us. But the book of Jude says we need to rely on Jesus, who “is able to keep you from stumbling” (Jude 1:24)
We receive the power and ability to stand firm from the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then, and only then, we get to enter Jesus’ glorious presence without fault and with great joy (Jude 1:25a and 1:24)
We would not dare to say this out loud: “I’m so mature and experienced—I’d never fall into sin like _____did — that could never happen to me.” But isn’t it easy for that smugly complacent and superior attitude to secretly sneak in — and then we start to act proudly with an overconfident attitude?
So, my fall in the woods leads to today’s warning: It’s precisely when I feel my most confident in life, that I most need to call on the name of the One who will keep me from falling on my face!