Monday School

I know it’s a little late, and by the time you read this, it would probably be safer to call it “Tuesday School”. Better late than never, right? I’d like to just jump right in, so if you’d like to know why I decided to start this, you can just click on the image above, and see.

What I Learned:
Two Sundays ago, we covered 1 Corinthians 10, in which the Apostle Paul talks about the examples we have in scripture to learn from, and how to avoid making the same mistakes. In verses 1-10, Paul cites several specific examples, drawing mostly from Israel’s exodus from Egypt under Moses.

These lead up to the verses which really seemed to stand out to me and scream for my attention that Sunday morning. For very good reason…

“11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
~1 Corinthians 10:11-13 (NIV)

I had to stop and examine my heart – just as I need to do daily. Do I think I am standing firm? Do I have a “That would never happen to me” attitude about the sins of others? Sadly, I often do.

Paul is saying in verse twelve to watch that attitude carefully! The moment I have the gall to think that I could never stoop so low, I am sure to be tested. Probably that very day. I am not immune to temptation, no matter how close my relationship with Jesus is. Only my pride would believe such a lie. And I have a very tumultuous love-hate relationship with my pride.

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” ~Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

My pastor said something striking when speaking about verse 12 and its implications. He said that “The only thing that separates us from becoming another Adolf Hitler is God’s grace, and opportunity.” Ouch.

Another way of saying “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Who am I to think that I am above temptation’s reach? Even Jesus himself was tempted. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Okay, warning duly noted and tucked away. So, I’m watching for temptation. Now what?

Paul goes on in verse 13 to say that we don’t have to worry about temptation – because there is nothing new under the sun, and we will never encounter any temptation that no one else has ever had to tackle.

This doesn’t mean we take it lightly, just that we can take encouragement that we are not alone.

Our temptations to sin are “common to man”. Because Jesus was tempted himself, he knows and understands what it’s like to feel the pull of sin. The only difference between us and him is that he never gave in. (Hebrews 2:14-18 and 4:14-16)

“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” ~Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)

What a relief! I am not the only one Satan is picking on! I have a Savior I can run to, knowing I can trust him to really understand…

…and he is faithful, according to verse 13. This is where it really got good for me!

He knows my strengths and my weaknesses. His word says that Jesus remembers that I am just a little ball of dust – not capable of doing much of anything on my own. (Psalms 103:8-14) He will not let any temptation come my way that he will not equip me to handle.

As a mother, I never reprimanded any of my children for falling when they were learning to walk, because my expectations were reasonable. I knew my childrens’ strengths, and was there to help each of them back up to their feet for another try, grinning from ear to ear with pleasure at their efforts.

Also, he will always provide a way out! Sometimes, the way out is to simply run away. Literally. An easy maneuver pretty much anyone can do. (2 Timothy 2:22)

Sometimes, though, we can’t get away so easily. In that case, we are called to stand. Simply stand firm.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” ~Ephesians 6:13 (NIV – emphasis mine)

We are not called to go on the offensive. That is beyond us. We are instructed simply to put on our armor, stand still, and let God be our defender and champion. Remember that incident involving a cross? You do? Good. That’s where our temptations were defeated. We have already won. Therefore, our entire job consists of standing. Can I say it again? Stand!!!

Let God fight for you, as he has always done for those who love him.*

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” ~Exodus 14:13,14 (NIV – emphasis mine)

Being still is something I am still learning to do. My nature tells me that I must do it all for myself, like a toddler learning his independence and declaring “No, Mommy! I do it!” My God tells me that I need to let go, and let him do it in and through me by the power of his Holy Spirit. The only thing I need to do is surrender my steering wheel.

“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV – emphasis mine)

I love this verse! I am not the one God is counting on to defeat everything life and the devil throws at me. He called me. He will not only equip me, but he himself will work through me to accomplish what he is asking of me! That takes a load off of my shoulders.

What I am doing with it:
Okay. Now that I have received such wonderful encouragement from a good Father, what do I actually do in my day-to-day life? That really is the question right? My pastor likes to remind his flock that God actually expects us to take his words, and put them into action in our lives now.

This week, I know God wants me to take heart that he is faithful, and isn’t going to allow anything I can’t handle.

I know he wants me to be aware of temptations to sin.

I know he wants me to trust his faithfulness to give me eyes to see the way out, and to fill me with the strength I need to stand if I cannot run.

Specifically, I think he is calling me to watch for the temptation to laziness, impatience with my children and husband, and jealousy.

Please understand I have a very healthy sense of who I really am in Christ. I am a child of the King of Kings, his poem (Ephesians 2:10), his bride, the joy set before him, his beloved. So don’t think that I take pleasure in self-abasement. I just think it’s high time I share honestly what my walk with Jesus is really like. It’s a struggle at times, and I cannot wait for the day I go to be with Jesus himself, and will be made complete in him!

My hope is that God uses my shortcomings as an example for you. Maybe one day I will be able to share a strength, and an area of victory. As long as pride is my bedfellow, that will have to wait. 🙂 In the meantime, I do not need “you’re not so bad” comments – believe me, I’m quite good at complimenting myself! *tongue in cheek* Just be open to what Jesus might be saying to you is all I ask. 🙂

If you decide you’d like to participate, leave me a note in the comments section, and feel free to save the Monday School image and use it in your post. Or not. 🙂

So…what did you learn from God this week?

*To see God in action for yourself…look to these examples from the Old Testament! ~ Deuteronomy 1:29-31; 3:21,22; 20:3,4; 2 Chronicles 20:1-30; Nehemiah 4:20; Psalm 35