TEXT: 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Have You Been Broken? Part 1 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #25)
As we continue our series on Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible, allow me to read from the story of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan as a prelude to our topic for today.
Then Christian began to go forward, but Discretion, Piety, Charity, and Prudence would accompany him down to the foot of the hill. So they went on together, reiterating their former discourses, till they came to go down the hill. Then said Christian: “As it was difficult coming up, so far as I can see, it is dangerous going down.” “Yes,” said Prudence, “so it is, for it is a hard matter for a man to go down into the Valley of Humiliation, as you are doing now, and to catch no slip by the way.” Therefore, said they, “are we come out to accompany you down the hill.” So he began to go down, but very warily; yet he caught a slip or two.
Christian had just had a wonderful time at the Palace Beautiful. He had come up the Hill of Difficulty, was well rested, and had received a new suit of armor and provisions for his journey. However, as he sets out once again to go to the Celestial City, he learns that he must travel through the Valley of Humiliation.
Think about the word “humiliation” for a moment. What kind of thoughts or feelings come to mind when you hear that word? No doubt, you have a negative reaction to the word “humiliation.” When we think of humiliation, we think of being embarrassed or put to shame. We think of failing in a very public and noticeable way. We think of being laughed at. We think of walking into a room and immediately people start whispering because of something we said or did in the past. One dictionary defines humiliation as “the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission.”
Even though we may think negatively of the idea of humiliation, lowliness, submission, or brokenness, the Bible is replete with the importance of this subject in God’s eyes. The more common term in the Bible is humility. Notice these verses:
Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”
Proverbs 16:18-19 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
Proverbs 29:23 says, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
In Luke 18:14, Jesus Christ said, “Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
James 4:6-7 says, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God.”
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”
Yes, being humbled and broken is a part of the Christian life.
Why do we need to be humbled and broken? We need to be humbled lest we fall into sin due to a lack of spiritual vigilance. Paul says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” This admonishment comes at the end of a passage in which Paul relates the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and how that shortly after that great deliverance, they fell into sin multiple times.
Listen to what Paul says: “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.”
Paul concludes by saying, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” In other words, Paul says we ought to look at what happened to the Israelites and learn from it. The Israelites were saved from slavery in Egypt, and yet after that great deliverance, they fell into idolatry, fornication, and complaining and murmuring against God. Perhaps they thought that since they were God’s “chosen people” that God would not punish them severely. They did not take the laws that God had given Moses seriously. Perhaps because of their privileged status, they thought they could get away with complaining and murmuring when things did not go their way.
Paul says to New Testament believers that we ought to learn from what happened to them. They had to go through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. That was their Valley of Humiliation.
After receiving great blessings from God, the Israelites were not as vigilant and conscientious as they should have been. The same thing happens to Christians today. We are extremely blessed, good things are happening for us, we have assurance of salvation, we’re on our way to Heaven, and we think nothing can stop us now. Then, we stop being vigilant and watchful about our spiritual condition. We fail to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We get blindsided by one of the devil’s schemes. And, before we know it, we have fallen into sin. Paul says, ‘Watch out! If you think you’re standing strong, take heed lest you fall.’
William Mason, in his commentary on Pilgrim’s Progress, writes: “It is after a pilgrim has been favored with special and peculiar blessings that there is danger of his being puffed up by them, and exalted on account of them. So even was Paul; therefore, the messenger of Satan was permitted to buffet him. In our present state, the Lord knows it would not be best for us always to dwell on the mount of spiritual joy; therefore, for the good of the soul, the flesh must be humbled, and kept low lest spiritual pride prevail. It is hard going down into the Valley of Humiliation, without slipping into murmuring and discontent, and calling in question the dealings of God with us.”
How can we remain humble and broken in our spiritual life? Well, Paul’s warning to the Corinthians is that they acknowledge the fact that they are spiritually vulnerable. None of us is invincible. And if you are so proud that you think you are invincible, that is proof of your vulnerability. Remember the story of the Babylonian king Belteshazzar. On the night that the Persians came to attack the great city of Babylon, Belteshazzar called together his lords and threw a party. They feasted and drank while the Persians marched toward the city gates. Historians tell us that Babylon was surrounded by two walls — 56 miles long, 300 feet high, 25 feet thick, and the walls extended 35 feet below the ground. The Babylonians thought they were invincible. And as they were feasting and partying, the Persians came, diverted the River Euphrates which ran through the middle of the city, and marched into Babylon on the river bed. At the moment when the Babylonians thought they could not be conquered, that is when the great empire fell.
That is what the devil wants to happen to you. Now that you are delivered from his kingdom of darkness, he wants you to get puffed up with pride and the feeling that you are spiritually secure. And that is the moment when he will strike and cause you to fall. Adam Clarke said, “The highest saint under heaven can stand no longer than he depends upon God and continues in the obedience of faith. He that ceases to do so will fall into sin, and get a darkened understanding and a hardened heart.”
This is what we must do today: Make the decision to remain humble and broken. Realize that you cannot live the Christian life on your own. Realize that you cannot stand for God and truth and righteousness on your own. Realize that you need the power of the Holy Spirit working in you.
One of the reasons why our churches are ineffective in evangelism and in the transformation of people’s lives is because we are saying all the right things, we believe all the right things, we teach and preach all the right things, and we think that life transformation will happen because of what we say, what we do, and what we teach and preach when that is not it at all. Those things are good, but we cannot depend on those things. That is not where the power is. The power is in the Holy Spirit of God. We must depend on Him to see people saved and to see lives changed. Zechariah 4:6 says, “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
Dear friend, take stock of your spiritual life. What are you depending on for victory? Are you depending on your rituals and activity? Are you confident in your faithful church attendance or your faithful participation in Bible study? Keep doing those things, but be humble. Understand that spiritual victory is not based on what you do for God, but on what God does through you. Don’t become so enamored with mountain top experiences that you lose sight of the fact that we have an adversary the devil who ‘walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.
First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.