1 Corinthians 10:12, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!"
When I read this verse I think of the movie The Walk. Have you seen it?The Walk is the 2015 motion picture, and true story, about high-wire artist Philippe Petit. In 1974 he fulfilled his dream of walking between the World Trade Center towers, but in an early scene from the film he's in a Big Top circus in France tying a rope to a beam. Philippe says, "So [my mentor] Papa Rudy let me travel with his troupe. Of course I never did any performance. But any time the big top was empty, I would practice on the wire."
In the next scene, Philippe is high up just under the tent's ceiling and balancing himself on a wire with a pole. Papa Rudy enters the tent and looks up at Philippe, who was walking carefully but confidently across the thin wire. He hesitates as he is about to reach the platform and then takes a more assertive forward step. But suddenly Philippe and his wire start shaking precariously. He falls to the side, grabbing on to the wire with both hands, barely avoiding falling to his death as the pole plummets to the ground.
As he hangs onto the wire with both hands, the ground a great distance below, he slowly works his way to the platform. Breathing heavily and making his way down the ladder he faces Papa Rudy who tells him, "Most wire walkers, they die when they arrive. They think they have arrived, but they're still on the wire. If you have three steps to do, and you take those steps arrogantly, if you think you are invincible, you're going to die." [The Walk. DVD. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. 2015; Tristar Productions]
Paul is warning us in 1 Corinthians 10 about the results of sin by looking at examples from the history of Israel. He seems serious about getting across an essential point—caution! There is an arrogance that precedes sin. It is the arrogance that says, "I can handle this. I won't give in." Paul calls it the attitude that says, "I'm standing firm!" And I wonder if Paul was thinking of Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall," when he wrote this verse.
A young Priest went to an old Priest to ask his advice. The young Priest had been struggling with sexual temptation and he was tired of fighting. He asked the Priest, "When will I get over this struggle? When will I be able to trust myself in this area?" The older priest thought a moment and said, "Son, I wouldn't trust myself until three days in the grave."
There is a sense where we should live lives of caution because temptations will always be there. We're not dead yet. So we cautiously walk the tightrope of our lives.
Prayer: Father, we know we are only one step from falling. We pray that You lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. We thank you for the grace when we do fall. Help us to live with caution. In Jesus name, amen.