I have been talking on Twitter lately about my newly-reacquired love of tennis. On Monday mornings, you will find me at the local park, hitting a tennis ball against a wall with a white line drawn across it.
I learned to play tennis by hitting a tennis ball against the wall. The house in which I grew up had a carport with a large brick wall. I would spend hours launching tennis balls at that wall with my beginner aluminum racket.
I learned pretty good technique. What I didn’t learn was how to play against an opponent. I assumed that I could beat anyone I came up against. My thought process went like this: “Come on! Look how hard I hit that last shot! It nearly bounced over my head into the road! I got this!”
Then I played against a person.
I quickly found out that facing people on a real court was NOT the same thing. I figured I would have no trouble winning, but greatly overestimated my ability. I thought I was strong when I was weak.
Many times in our Christian lives, we see others going through sin. In the past few years, unknown numbers of pastors have been forced to give up their churches due to sexual indiscretions. We all have seen celebrities get caught for DUI or drug use or other such things. Politicians scheme and swindle and cavort. Friends divorce. We may think, “I would NEVER do that” or “That would NEVER be a problem for me” or “I would see that coming.”
Do you think those that found themselves in these situations thought the same thing?
Dr. Johnny Hunt said that any sin you are tempted to commit has been a temptation for millions of others. The Bible says that that there are no temptations that are not common to man (I Corinthians 10:13). The rest of that verse speaks of a means to escape any sin, which is a comfort. But the fact that all sins are common is not.
No one is immune from any particular sin. No one. No matter how you’ve been raised. No matter how you think you would react in a particular situation. We are all susceptible to disgracing the name of Jesus in ways we can’t even imagine.
That is why we must…
1) always be on guard
2) don the armor of God (Ephesians 6)
3) spend time in the Word and in prayer daily
4) set up hedges of protection around areas in which we struggle
5) remember that God IS faithful
6) “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22)
I overestimated my strength and got burned. But that was just a game.