The Grace in Which We Stand
A little over 30 years ago I became of follower of Jesus, and at the age of 15 devoted my life to following him. Externally to most people I appeared to be “on fire for God,” openly confessing my allegiance to Christ and living as his disciple. Internally the story was much different; dark places in my soul remained hidden and unconfessed, and sometimes in the dark I gave in to temptation. As high school transitioned into college, I began to feel more and more like I a spiritual schizophrenic - Christ-follower by day, indulgent sinner by night. One battle in particular began to consume my life; this temptation was like a spiritual itch, and I thought that maybe if I gave in just a little, the itch would go away. It would… for a moment, but then the itch would turn into a burning fire and by the age of 22 I fell away from my faith, giving into sin and shocking many of my close friends and family members.
Once the slide into sin began I remember how hopeless I felt to resist; the path I eventually chose was one I honestly didn’t want but felt no alternative existed. I’m so thankful God has show me otherwise! However, the road it took to get to that place is one filled with pain, heartache, and loss - one I hope with all my heart you will never have to travel.
Leroy Eims of the Navigators talks about this in his devotional titled “The Grace in Which We Stand” - he uses the kings of Israel and Judah as examples; some were godly, some were not, and some fell from God’s grace so quickly it seems unbelievable. The same can happen to us, and I’m sure most of us have stories of someone we knew - a pastor, public figure, celebrity, friend or family member - who got caught up in sin and experienced a dramatic fall.
Eims says this: You might be thinking, If I’m going to hit the skids spiritually someday, why not fall into sin today and get it over with? But the warning of Scripture is that while spiritual failure is always possible, it is never inevitable. Our challenge is to stand by the grace of God, recognize that we are vulnerable, and take heed lest we fall.
Part of our ability to stand in the face of temptation is to humbly admit our vulnerability to the one who can give us the grace to stand. That often means sharing the hidden places in our lives with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Scary? Yes, it often can be! But our spiritual lives often depend on being open and honest before God and the body of Christ. Don’t let fear lead to a downfall; take courage, be vulnerable, face sin head on and find the grace you need to stand.