Christianity 201

February 12, 2021

Another Fallen Christian Leader

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm

“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it’” (Genesis 4:6,7).

I’m posting this with only minutes to our deadline.

I’ve been devastated today — as have so many others — to read the final report of an organization dispatched to investigate the fall of a prominent Christian leader. There have been many over the past twelve months, but this one has captured the lion’s share of attention, even as some chose to deny the possibility.

I am reminded of our propensity to sin. Sometimes we talk about walking with God. The image that comes to mind is what my Dad would call an anti-social game of golf, where one golfer hooks and the other golfer slices, and they end up playing each hole walking on opposite sides of the fairway. Yes, they’re journeying together, but there’s little conversation, little intimacy, little camaraderie.

Looking at our key verse, I’m reminded of something that our friends Stephen and Brooksyne shared that appeared here over ten years ago:

The word for “crouching” conveys the posture of a four legged animal as it prepares to attack its prey. That’s the nature of sin and its crouched position is persistent. We must ever be alert, practice self-control, and stand firm, for our “enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

This image of a spiritual enemy on patrol is found in Job 1:7

The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” (NLT)

His cunning is echoed in 2 Corinthians 2:10b-11

…I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.  (NIV)

Again, none of us is immune as 1 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us:

Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesn’t fall. (WEB)

Again, we return to Peter, this time 2 Peter 3:17

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. (NLT)

So what do we do? Peter, in the same letter (1:10) has already told them to make regular, daily affirmation of their position in Christ:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble (NIV)

To go back to our friends at Daily Encouragement, the last part of our key verse is critical:

It desires to have you.” Sin continues its desire to enslave you and me. A foundational step in overcoming sin is realizing this. You do well to recognize the enemy’s tactic since he desires to have you as well.

But you must master it.” In the New Testament Paul wrote, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). In the pursuit of godliness we must, by God’s grace, master our sinful nature, something as descendants of Adam we all must do.

But you must master it.

You must master it.

I must master it.

To do otherwise is to witness the consequences brought to light in today’s report.

“…be sure your sin will catch up with you.” Numbers 32:23b CSB:

And this from Proverbs 29:18 reminds us that mercy and forgiveness are given to those who don’t try to deny, hide, or make little of their sins:

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy

Author Beth Moore posted this on Twitter a few hours ago:

If, in your secret life, there is earnest intimacy with Christ,

there’s seeking him in prayer
there’s genuine devotion
there’s poring over the Scriptures
there’s fellowshipping in his sufferings
there’s partaking in his joys…

…those are the secret things that’ll manifest.

Finally, people don’t necessarily have to fail or fall. Earlier today singer Carolyn Arends tweeted a link to a podcast where Eric Peterson, son of author Eugene Peterson called his father “as congruent a person as I have ever known.” She herself added, “Some people really do finish well, friends. It’s possible.”

It’s possible.

Kelsey Baker concluded a devotional which we ran here two years ago with this:

None of us is immune—sin is not selective or discriminatory. So let us strive, for the sake of the God whom we love, to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10).








1 Comment »

  1. He is only “fallen” because he was found out? We are all “fallen” and Lord help us if all OUR (unconfessed) sins were exposed to the world. We wouldn’t have a leg to stand on…only God’s grace and mercy. Lord help us, moment by moment, to be sure we have a clean heart before You, and a right spirit within us. A subject for discussion is, “are all sins equal?” If sin is sin, then Zacharias’s sin is no greater than ours, and we must be careful not to judge. Lies, lust, unholy thoughts, angry words, greed, worship of something/someone other than our Holy God – we are all guilty, except for 1John 1:9….

    Comment by Kathy Bousquet — February 13, 2021 @ 11:59 am | Reply

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