"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). In these few words the apostle says that the child of God can fall from God's grace; and that there is the need to be careful to avoid falling; and that the person who especially needs to take heed is the one thinking that he is secure. In all areas of endeavor--physical labor, mental effort, athletic competition, prevention and control of disease, there is the need for those who think themselves to be strong and immune from opposition to exercise vigilance. So it is in the realm of the spirit.

The question from the practical side poses itself: How can I take heed? Here the Word of the Lord supplies the answer that is designed by the Lord to serve not just as an answer to the question, but also as the solution to the problem of falling.

1. Buffeting Of The Body: While the word here rendered buffet in (1 Cor. 9:27) means to bruise, the Lord is not urging us to actually abuse our bodies. His emphasis is upon what the latter part of the verse refers to as "bringing it into sub jection, lest we become castaways." It is extremely necessary for God's people to learn self-denial, even as our Lord said in (Matt. 16:24): "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." One must learn to consider the body from the standpoint of its being useful for God's purpose rather than from the standpoint of physical gratification and satisfaction that opposes the standard of righteousness.

2. Using The Whole Armor Of God: (Eph. 6:14-18) discusses the armor needed for successful combat in the spiritual realm: "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication." A use of only a part of the complete armor constitutes a weakened effort in the battle against sin and a lack of appreciation for the Divine provision. Using the complete armor and a standing in the strength provided are to be done in conjunction with prayer and supplication. Is it any wonder that God's people so often fail? They fail to take heed in this matter, which is so urgent in our effort to remain faithful.

3. Resisting The Devil: Active opposition is the idea of resisting, not passive drowsiness. God's children can best prepare themselves for the attacks of Satan and ultimately discourage their continuation by open resistance to the devil. The promise of inspiration is that the Devil flees from such resistance. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:7). The case of Jesus proves what the promise of James means. After Jesus steadfastly resisted the devil, "then the Devil leaveth Him, and angels came and ministered to Him" (Matt. 4:11).

In taking these measures, we take heed to ourselves, to God and His provisions, and to the attacks of the devil. In doing so, we take heed lest we fall.

By Bobby L. Graham in Biblical Insights, Vol. 5, No. 8, August 2005.

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