November 24, 2018
John 16:1…. I have said these things to you to keep you from falling away.
He had just taught His disciples, us, about persecution which the world would bring against us. He who was/is perfect and complete love, was persecuted; how is it that we think we will avoid it? But He gave us this warning to keep us from falling away. “Falling away” is not like walking away. We might know when we are walking away from God, but can we tell when we are falling? “Falling” could be a result of instability. I have found that as I age, I am a bit unstable. Your body has built in stabilizers that act when your bubble is off center. I have found that with age, I have lost some reaction time, and I don’t center as quickly or as dependably as I used to. According to today’s verse, spiritual stability is provided by Jesus’ words.
By experience, I would say that spiritual instability is unintentional. I don’t recall ever thinking, “I think I will fall away from God now.” So, it is possible to “fall away”, an unintentional, undesired, action, from God. How can I avoid this? I must ask myself, “What has Jesus said about this situation?” When adverse circumstances chase you down and cause you persecution, your healing and deliverance, comes from God. But I am thinking about another application for this verse.
Have you ever noticed that someone else is not living up to your expectations? Perhaps they are not intentionally walking away from God. Perhaps they are “falling”, not toward God, but away from Him. You can exhort someone who is walking away, but it is a waste of breath to exhort someone who is falling. That person needs a stable hand to hold them. Holding someone up is more time consuming than exhorting them. It is more selfless. Like the old song says, “Before you abuse,
criticize and accuse,
walk a mile in my shoes.”
Sometimes our words are mean; and, they are sometimes not the needed answer. Some people are “falling.” Encourage them with words of Jesus.
His words “Keep us from falling away.”