Friday, April 5, 2024

Stepping Toward a Fall

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NLT)

I heard about a sign on a road near an airport runway that read, “Keep moving. If you stop, you are in danger and a danger to those who are flying.”

We could apply the same principle to the Christian life: We need to keep moving forward spiritually. If we stop, we’re in danger and a danger to others.

There is a natural tendency to go in the wrong direction. As a result of putting our faith in Jesus Christ, we have a new nature. But we also have an old nature that fights with the new nature.

The apostle Paul wrote, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Romans 7:18-19 NLT).

We make a choice whether to build up our spiritual lives or neglect them. And when we neglect the things of God, we are feeding our old nature. It’s a battle, and every day the battle rages.

Simon Peter never thought that he would fall away from the Lord. He somehow believed that even if everyone else abandoned Jesus, he never would. He didn’t understand his own weakness, and as a result, he fell—and he fell hard.

There are several steps that led to Simon Peter’s fall. The first was self-confidence. He said to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you” (Luke 22:33 NLT). And according to Matthew’s Gospel, he also said, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you” (26:33 NLT).

Peter was boasting, and he was doing it at the expense of others. He was boasting of his devotion and commitment. Yet Proverbs 16:18 warns, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (NLT).

We need to recognize that we have the potential to fall. We have the potential to sin. We don’t need self-confidence; we need Christ-confidence. We need to trust in Him and stay as close to Him as we can.

Peter’s next step down was a lack of prayer. When Jesus and His disciples went to the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them, including Peter, to watch and pray. Instead, they were sleeping. This was a result of the sin of self-confidence.

Lastly, Peter followed at a distance after a crowd of men arrested Jesus and led Him away. And a distance from the Lord in closeness and fellowship always will be at the foundation of all spiritual regression. In Peter’s defense, he was still following. But it was at a distance, which means that it was a half-hearted commitment.

Although this is a story of failure, it is also a story of restoration and forgiveness. Peter received forgiveness and a second chance. Have you fallen away from the Lord? Jesus is ready to forgive you of every sin that you’ve ever committed.

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