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Thursday, October 10, 2019

be careful

Opening Prayer: I love you, O Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer: my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:1-3, NIV)

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:12

Journal:  What ways are you most susceptible to falling?  How are careful so that you don’t?  Are you more apt to overestimate your own strength, or underestimate the strength of your opponent?  How do you typically try to protect yourself from the attacks of the enemy?

Reflection: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12)  Sound advice, right?  After all, isn’t it the moments when we don’t think we can fall, when we are actually the most susceptible?  Those moments when we let our guard down because we either overestimate ourselves or underestimate our opponent—both of which can lead to disaster.
     I’ll be the first to admit that there are many times in my life where I think, “I got this,” only to find out that I really don’t.  But there are even more moments in my life when I don’t give my opponent the credit he deserves.  In fact, quite often I do not even recognize that I have an opponent.  I think that all that is going on within or around me is something that I’m coming up with all on my own.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, when I think that way I am playing right into his hands.  The best way for my opponent to defeat me is to convince me that he doesn’t even exist.  Then he can go about his business without any notice or resistance.
     The truth is that we do have an opponent.  Or, more accurately, we have an enemy.  The Enemy.  The devil himself, whose sole purpose is to defeat and destroy us.  His main weapons are lies and deception.  He wants us to believe things—about ourselves, our world, and our God—that simply aren’t true.  He whispers to us a story that we actually believe is one of our own making.  A story in which we are the main characters and all of life revolves around us.  A story in which we are on our own and must take care of ourselves, because no one else will.  No one else really cares.  He whispers to us a story about a God whose heart cannot be trusted, a God who is not good.  And then he encourages us to interpret the events and happenings and hardships of our lives in such a way that it only increases our deepest fears, doubts, and suspicions.  All without ever recognizing or acknowledging that he is the source of these lies.  Thus, every encounter and interaction, every harsh word or hurtful comment just adds fuel to the fire.  We recognize that we have fallen, that our lives are a total mess, we just have no idea how we got there, or how to get back up.  But this fall didn’t just happen.  We were actually led there, without our knowing it.  That is the craftiness and brilliance of our opponent.
     But our God is even more brilliant.  In fact, he (Jesus) is the way and the truth and the life.  And the truth, once we recognize it and believe it, is always the way back to freedom.  For Jesus tells us a totally different story.  He tells us the real story—the true narrative.  He tells us who we really are, and how life was really meant to work, and what God is really like.  Jesus is the only firm place to set our feet.  So let us all be careful to stand firm in him today, lest we fall.    


Closing Prayer: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.  Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.  (Psalm 25:1-2, NIV)

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