Watch out for the spiritual crash

Today’s Pulse article is adapted from the April 23rd, 2019 Pulse.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 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 10:12-13)

This past Sunday was a wonderful time in the life of our church. We enjoyed an Easter breakfast for the first time since 2019, we saw people return to church for the first time since before COVID, and most importantly, we lifted up the name of Jesus, who died and rose again to give us eternal life.

But after Sunday, inevitably, comes Monday.

When I was younger in my faith, I did not realize the spiritual “crash” that often followed the high of experiencing God. I often found, much to my dismay, that after a spiritual retreat, or big day of fellowship or an encounter with God, that I was besieged by temptation, depression, or doubts about what I had just preached or led or experienced. Rather than “soaring on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), I would find myself stuck in the mud, watching the emotions from my recent glorious experience washing out to sea like the tide.

Can anyone relate?

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10 that if we think we are standing firm, we have to be careful that we don’t fall. In other words, the moment you think that you have arrived, that you are not in need of the Lord’s sustaining help, is the moment when temptation will sneak up on you and defeat you. In those moments after a particularly powerful time of worship or fellowship, I would find myself wanting to rest in the glow of the experience. But inevitably I would hear the voice of the tempter: “You just gave so much to God… you deserve to take some things for yourself.” Or, worse, the accuser would bring to mind all the failures and negative aspects of the experience, destroying in mind anything that was good.

The story of David and Bathsheba is a particularly terrible example of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10. David should have been out on the battle lines with his troops, but stayed in Jerusalem instead, and the result was tragic. His decision shows us that the moment we think we are good on our own, and we decide to let go of our connection with God in order to do our own thing, we are sitting ducks for the enemy. Satan is crafty, and he knows just how to tempt us or accuse us until we have turned away from God and are focused on ourselves instead.

If you find yourself in that place today, this is the moment to turn back to God and to throw yourself into His arms in complete dependence. You are never weaker than when you are standing on your own, and you are never stronger than when you are leaning on God.

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