I CORINTHIANS 10:11-13: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What does it mean to be free? Today is July 4, Independence Day in the United States. It is the day we celebrate the beginning of our nation and our collective and individual freedom. Friends and families will gather around the barbeque and top the evening off with a celebration of fireworks.
Yet – just because this is Independence Day it does not mean that we are free!
I love our country and I love our freedoms. I am thankful for the freedom of speech, the freedom to vote, the freedom to travel throughout our country without restriction, and the freedom to do whatever I want to with my life. These are blessed freedoms that we so often take for granted. They are freedoms that have been won and protected by heroes who gave their lives so that we could gather around our barbeques.
Yet, there is another freedom that I love even more. It is the freedom from both the power and penalty of sin. It is the freedom that Jesus purchased for me through His sacrificial death on the cross. It is the freedom that was imparted to me by faith through the power of His resurrection. It is the freedom that I am invited to walk in every day of my life.
Yet – this freedom is not automatic.
Paul outlines the perils of taking God’s provision and grace for granted in the first 10 verses of I Corinthians, chapter 10. He recalls all of the miraculous provisions that the children of Israel received from God and how they still fell into bondage once again to sin. They both took God for granted and forgot His instructions and the lessons that He had taught them along the way. As we read these verses we might be tempted to pile on and say – “What a bunch of losers!” Yet, Paul warns us…
- “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Freedom is fragile. It can be lost. Pride and complacency are the enemies of freedom, both spiritual freedom, and national freedom. When we forget where we have come from and begin to think we know better than everyone who has gone before us we are setting ourselves up for a fall – a Big Fall! This is one of the reasons we need to daily read, meditate, and pray over the Scriptures. It is in the pages of Scripture that we find the daily reminders we need!
- “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
We live in a revisionist culture. Some are trying to rewrite the history of the United States rather than studying it and learning from it. And, some are trying to rewrite the pages of Scripture to make them fit their personal lifestyle and choices. These tendencies to revise rather than learn are setting both our nation and the church up for a Big Fall!
Yet – it does not have to be this way!
We are not doomed to repeat history, either national history or Biblical history. We can learn from it and apply its lessons to navigate our life and grow in the freedom that God has given us. This is exactly the promise that God gives us in these few verses. We are not doomed to failure – God has already made a way for our victory!
- “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
I have found this verse to never be deficient. I have been deficient, but God’s promises are always true. God promises us some very powerful things regarding our freedom.
- We are not the Lone Ranger. The trials we are experiencing are common to all men.
- God is faithful! He will never let us be tempted beyond what we are able to endure through His grace.
- God will always provide a pathway of escape and victory over our temptations.
- God will always give us all-sufficient grace throughout the entire process to bear it and to overcome it!
These are powerful promises! I have found them to always be true – IF I walk after the Spirit and appropriate the grace of God. However, I have also been overcome by temptation and failed the grace of God in my life. Did the Lord fail to provide me a way of escape? Did He allow me to be tempted beyond my ability to endure?
The answer is a resounding NO!
I fell because I did not take heed to my path. I neglected God’s Word, I missed His warnings, I began to rely on my own understanding, and – I FELL! I believe we have all lived through this cycle. Yet, when I have abided in God’s Word, when I have spent time in prayer, when I have cried out for the grace of God and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit…
HE HAS ALWAYS SHOWN ME THE WAY OF ESCAPE AND VICTORY!
This is not rocket science. It is merely being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. It is abiding in Christ and realizing that without Him I can do nothing. It is each day realizing that without Jesus, without His Word, without His grace – there too go I. I am always one step away from failing if I forget to abide in Him!
Heavenly Father, this Independence Day, I thank you for the freedoms that You have given us in this country. Yet, I thank you more for the Cross of Jesus Christ! I thank You for Your abundant, all-sufficient grace and mercy in my life. I thank You for Your Word which always gives me a pathway of escape and victory. And, I thank You for Your great, great love.
Help me to walk in the victory and freedom of Jesus Christ today!
In Jesus’ Name!