Be Sanctified, Not Smug!
Dear God, I thank You today for Your changelessness. You are steadfast, reliable, and the same yesterday, today, and forever.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Consider: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34). The cost of discipleship is great, but the cost of non-discipleship is greater!
Delivered from Egyptian slavery, the Israelites enjoyed incomparable status as God's chosen people. Yet, as they journeyed to the Promised Land, their humble gratitude gave way to arrogant complacency. Taking their privileged position for granted, they were lulled by their smugness into a false sense of security, leaving them prey to sins such as idolatry and immorality. Consequently, most of them perished in the desert.
Paul uses the example of Israel as a warning. Some Corinthian Christians thought their faith was strong enough to be uncompromised by their attendance at pagan temple ceremonies. Such foolhardy behavior exposed them needlessly to temptation. They lacked the self-denial Jesus demands of his followers. If athletes competing for the momentary glory of an earthly prize need to submit to rigorous discipline, can Jesus' disciples imagine it should be any less so in the race of faith (9:25)?
In Jesus' (and Paul's) day, a disciple was someone who based his life on the discipline taught by the master he followed. It was assumed that the pupil would become like his teacher (Luke 6:40). A disciple was to imitate his teacher's life in actions, thoughts, and attitudes. Discipleship meant active obedience that produced personal transformation. Although Paul does not use the word "disciple" here, the concept appears in his insistence that Christians exercise discipline in their lives and refuse to follow the tragic example of the wandering Israelites. Faith displays true strength and maturity, not by deliberately provoking temptation through a flashy display of bravado, but by avoiding circumstances where a fall is more likely. It does not ask "How close can I get to the precipice without falling over?" but "How far away can I get to avoid the danger of falling over?"
Do you ever leave yourself exposed to temptations you find hard to resist? List them, and ask God to help you deal with them.
Mighty God, I know at times I adjust to sin and let it settle down in my life. Increase my awareness of this and enable me to keep short accounts with You.
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