Believer Beware

Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

–1 Corinthians 10:12

The Persian king Cyrus wanted to conquer the city of Sardis. But the city was located on a ridge surrounded by steep cliffs. The residents of Sardis were convinced no one could overtake them. In fact, there was one portion of the city where they did not even set a guard because the cliff was so sheer, they thought there was no way it could be scaled by attackers. But the Sardians did not realize how resolved Cyrus was. He offered a prize to the first soldier who was able to mount the walls. One day, a soldier named Hyroeades saw a Sardian climb down to retrieve a helmet that had fallen. It was at the very spot where there was not a guard posted. As the man climbed back up, Hyroeades carefully observed the route he took. The next day, Hyroeades led a team of soldiers up that same route and over the walls, and the city of Sardis fell.

Sardis was defeated for two reasons: the citizens underestimated their enemy’s resolve, and they overestimated their own strength. They thought they were safe from defeat.

Christians make the same mistake today. There are some Christians who underestimate the enemy’s resolve to overtake them. The truth is, Satan has a terrible plan for your life. He has a scheme to destroy everything important to you.

But we make an equally lethal mistake when we overestimate our ability to defeat the enemy–at least in our own strength. There are many Christians who think they will never fall into sin. That is exactly the mistake the Corinthian Christians made. Remember, in 1 Corinthians 8, Paul addressed the topic of eating meat that had been offered to idols. The more mature Christians were saying, “We know idols are not real. We know we have freedom in Christ. So there is nothing wrong with eating that meat.” But as Paul listened to these supposedly mature Corinthians, he sensed in them a dangerous attitude: pride. He heard them saying, “I do not have to worry about eating meat offered to an idol because I could never fall back into an idolatrous lifestyle. I have been delivered from that once and for all.”

No Christian is immune to the possibility of falling into sin and experiencing God’s judgment. Even though you have been miraculously saved, even though you have experienced God’s supernatural provision in life, those things do not guarantee you will not fall into sin. This week, we are going to study what Paul said about the danger of overconfidence.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Believer Beware” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Herodotus, “The Histories,” trans. A. D. Godley (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1920), 1.84, Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University, http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0016.tlg001.perseus-eng1:1.84.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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