“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13a)

Perhaps my all-time favorite critter our family ever owned was our son’s chameleon. When most people think about these lizards they probably recall the fact that they can change both color and skin pattern to blend in with their surroundings. That’s what I always thought about. But when we got the little dude, I was even more amazed by the fact that God designed him with eyes that swivel to look backwards. He could see what was in front of him, to the side of him and behind him without moving a muscle. Oh man, his poor lizard children! They couldn’t get away with anything!

In this week’s passage, one of the points Paul brings up is around the idea of resisting temptation and our need to “take heed” or “to see something physical, with spiritual results (perception)”. (The idea behind the word is that a person carries what is seen into the non-physical realm so he or she can take the needed action.) When it comes to fighting temptation there is a seeing and there is a responding. I want to think with you about the seeing part.

According to this week’s passage, being able to see all that surrounds us is part of what’s required to prevent us from falling prey to the schemes of the devil. For reasons known only to God, He did not give us eyes or heads that swivel. This then means we have to work even harder to pay attention to our setting and circumstances to avoid being overtaken. We must be vigilant. We must take heed.

But there is more to it than just seeing what is in front of us in our physical world. There is also the “seeing” that comes from perceiving what we are seeing. And this is what verse 12 is all about. All of this means we have a double challenge as we fight to live set-apart lives where we are continually experiencing growth in godliness — we must see the obvious and we must perceive (“see”) the sometimes not-so-obvious so we can identify temptation and seek God’s help to endure it (v. 13).

I trust all of this sounds pretty cut-and-dried. We see something, we perceive it to be bad for us, and we avoid it. If only it were that simple, right? We know from this text (and personal experience) that temptation is all around us, and we have a tendency to downplay the likelihood we’ll fall victim to it. That’s why Paul gives the command to “take heed lest you fall,” or to “pay attention” to what you see and to what it might mean in your life (and to then respond accordingly to prevent yourself from sinning).

Emmanuel Faith Church Family, I don’t know what temptations each of you are facing these days, but I think it would be good to pray and ask God to give us all the ability to see, perceive and remove ourselves from the things that could cause us to fall. I hope you’ll join me in praying along these lines today.

Scott Smith
Care Pastor

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