“I Would Never Do That.” (Oh, yes you would.)

“Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].”  (1 Corinthians 10:12 – Amplified)

From the Washington Post, September 1998:

 In the 1980s, when flashy, money-loving TV evangelists were giving men of the Lord a bad name, Gordon MacDonald was one of the shining lights. He wrote several best-selling books. He lectured throughout the country. He was pastor of a large evangelical church in Lexington, Mass., until he left to take over the $200 million World Vision Christian relief agency. He parlayed that post into the presidency of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, one of the nation’s largest collegiate missionary organizations.

That’s where he was in 1987, when anonymous letters arrived at the offices of religious publishers spelling out MacDonald’s adulterous affair. The minister quickly and publicly admitted his sin.

MacDonald became, as his lifelong friend Vernon Grounds said, “one more conspicuous casualty in the never-ending battle all of us carry on against evil within and without.”

Before MacDonald ended up in the marital affair it was reported that he had said, “There are a lot of bad things I’m capable of  doing.  But, I would never have an affair.”

In The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, one prayer includes the following honest and sobering statement regarding the inherent evil of our hearts:  “O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much about [our] creaturely power and goodness, when, if Thou didst not hold us back every moment, we should be devils incarnate.”

Stating this truth in clearer, more modern vernacular, Dr. Louis Markos, paraphrasing the great British author and apologist, G.K. Chesterton,  writes, “The great riddle of man is not merely that the same human race can produce both a Hitler and a Mother Theresa, but that every one of us contains within himself both a Hitler and Mother Theresa.”

I suspect the moment a believer says, “I would never do that [particular sin],” like moths to a flame, the enemy begins his wily, methodical attack.  Identifying our glaring weakness (pride), he initiates his plan.  And he doesn’t care if it takes years to see it through.

Considering again Paul’s warning to the Corinthians, “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin], is it any wonder why Paul, in both devilish desperation and holy relief, exclaimed, Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Soli Deo Gloria, nick