By Travis Robertson
“If all your friends jumped of a cliff…
…would you jump too?” How many times did your mom ask you this question growing up? I know my mom asked me a LOT. I soon learned to come up with better reasons for what I wanted to do than, “All my friends are doing it!” But you have to admit, Mom’s logic is sound. Just because a lot of other people do something, it doesn’t make it a good idea. When we see others make mistakes, we should learn from them rather than saying, “I want to go, too!”
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul points out to the Corinthian church that the evil which befell Israel was given as an example so Christians could learn from Israel’s mistakes. Verse 6 of that chapter says, “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” In this chapter we also read about how God delivered Israel from Egypt and how most of the Israelites rebelled and displeased God. We read about the sins they committed and the destruction they suffered as a result. After all of that, Paul says in verse 12, “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”
Through the sacrifice of Christ, we have been delivered from sin, and now we are to live righteously (Romans 6:17-18). We must be careful not to get arrogant in our salvation and fall into sin like Israel did. The good news is that God won’t let us be tempted more than we can handle. God doesn’t make rules that are impossible to keep. He always provides a way for us to escape sin and do the right thing (1 Corinthians 10:13). One of the best ways I have found to escape sin is to do a good work for Christ in lieu of the evil with which I am tempted. You remember the saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” We should take a few minutes each day to ask God to help us recognize temptation and find those avenues to escape sin. We won’t be able to overcome temptation if we don’t see it coming, and we won’t be able to take the escape route if we don’t know what it looks like or where to look for it. Jesus when teaching the disciples to pray and giving us an example prayed, “lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
The ancient nation of Israel has provided us with an example of how even God’s people can slip into sin and fall away. The question is, will we learn from that example and avoid their mistakes, or will we blindly follow them and jump off a cliff to our destruction?
- Travis Robertson preachers for the Lake Norman Church of Christ in Huntersville, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://lakenormancoc.org/