1 Corinthians 10:12 “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest (unless) he fall.”
In this 10th chapter of the first Corinthian letter, Paul starts out by giving several OT examples of consequences suffered by the Hebrews for the disobedience to God. He speaks of their deaths in the desert, their idolatry, their adultery, their tempting of God, and their constant complaining to God – all of which led to their demise. He says these examples were left for us to teach us what not to do and how to avoid the same end they faced. Obedience to God is the message he gives.
At the end of this discourse, Paul warns us to be careful about what we think about ourselves. In fact his words are a paraphrase of Solomon, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Pr. 16:18). Anyone who thinks that he stands (on his own) is in danger of falling flat on his face, as Paul eloquently describes. Why? Arrogance can set in and cause the person to think that they are okay in one’s mind. In truth, they are no safer from destruction than anyone else, and in fact, are at greater risk of trouble because of the sinful attitude. It is a dangerous place to be wandering the earth thinking that your good-to-go without the need for God’s help.
The Bible is full of examples of people and others who were full of pride and arrogance. The devil is the worst example. In Isaiah we read of the account of how Lucifer, heaven’s archangel of archangels, decided how he was going to ascend into the heights of heaven and overthrow God to assume power and position over the universe. God showed him that the only power he had was what was granted to him by God in the first place and subsequently expelled satan from heaven into the earth. Why? For his rebellious, arrogant, and proud heart! Adam fell prey to this very seduction also, and he caused all of humanity to come under God’s justice and be bound for eternal separation from God thus leading to a spiritual death.
The writer of Hebrews warns us also of the dangers of pride/arrogance. He writes that we should “throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles (snares)” (Heb. 12:1). Pride will catch you up in sin as easily as an animal gets entangled in a snare’s loop. It happens so quickly and unknowingly. Then once the trap is sprung, there is no getting out of it until the hunter arrives for his quarry. Pride can enslave a person can cause him to think that he has got it all together and need not worry about what he does. Paul’s warning is loud and clear. Take heed of it before you fall into its trap. No one is immune.
Father, you know full well the times that pride has gripped me and enslaved me. However, you saw fit to redeem me from the curse of sinful pride and claim me as your own. Therefore, I am humbly grateful for your decision to love me and keep me from falling further than I had already done. You have continually worked in me to change me from being a proud boaster to a humble servant. Please keep me from allowing that ugly monster from trying to rear up again in me. ONLY through spending intimate time with you in prayer and study of your Word will that happen. Nevertheless, I trust in you to guard me and guide me in this life. If I should fall, I know that you are there to catch me when I do. Teach me to walk in your Word and thus how to avoid the falls. In Jesus’ name, Amen.