1 Corinthians 10:1-13
"Remember our history, friends, and be warned....We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them. These are all warning markers--danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence. No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can."
- I Corinthians 10:1, 9-14 MSG
One of my favorite things about the Bible is that it is full of folks who have screwed up and made some really big mistakes, just like me. Some of the mistakes are much larger than I can imagine making. The decisions that were made weren't made overnight. Little steps over the line added up and then they moved far from where they would have ever gone-- far from where God wanted.
It seems that we can rationalize almost anything. We do it every day. Sometimes we even experience some folks that believe that they have no need for God, that all they need in life they can achieve on their own. This is what this passage warns us about. When this Scripture says to not be naive and self-confident, it is reminding us that when we trust more in ourselves than in God we will always get into trouble.
We all have times when life doesn't go our way, when we feel overwhelmed with the trials of life. In those times, if we remember that "our help comes in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:2 NRSV), we can begin moving toward the answers and help that we seek. However, if we do not remember to trust in God, we miss an excellent opportunity to begin moving toward resolution, health and wholeness through the power of God.
Cultivating God-confidence means that with God nothing is impossible. God makes the impossibilities in our lives' realities. No matter what life is dealing us on a particular day, God doesn't leave us alone to languish but is right there with us in the trenches, even when we dig them ourselves. That doesn't mean the we will not have consequences for our actions, but what it does mean that God will help us find our way through and be a peace again in our souls.
When we cultivate confidence that God is a God that will keep reaching out to us in love, then I believe it becomes much easier to keep trusting in God and following the plan God has in store for us. God has great blessings and wonderful opportunities waiting for us, but we need to say yes. We need to sign on as a follower of Jesus Christ, living a life of love and peace, justice and compassion, as we reach out to a hurting and broken world with the healing words and work of Jesus Christ. May this be a journey we are willing to sign on for and live into together.
Prayer: Almighty and Ever-Present God, thank you for sharing your abiding love with us. Help us to cultivate God-confidence in our lives as we trust you more deeply every day. May you help us to have the courage to follow you in times when it is easy and when it is difficult. Indeed, may your will be done in us and in our world. Amen.
Rev. Laura C. Kelsey, Author
Rev. Kelsey is proud to pastor the First Presbyterian Church of Pontiac, MI. Together with the faithful and loving worshipping community at FPC. she enjoys sharing God's Word with others, working to help folks experience God's love and discern their direction in life, and lovingly reach out to the greater Pontiac community.