29 June 2022 Anno Domini
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.”
(Psalm 73:18; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
F. E. Marsh gives this illustration of the slippery places that surprise us:
“A deacon was walking home with his minister one frosty night, when the minister slipped and fell back on the pavement. “Ah,” said the deacon, looking at him; “Sinners stand on slippery places.” The minister looked up at him as if to assure himself of the fact, and said, I see they do – but I cannot!” Of course, that tale was intended to evoke humor, but in the Christian life, the slippery slope is no laughing matter. It can deter us from the Straight and Narrow Way and place our feet on the Broad Way that leads ever downward to destruction.
If the Christian believer is to avoid slipping in his Christian walk and testimony, he must avoid those walks where the footing is slippery and uncertain. We have the Light of God as our Guide at all times to keep our feet on safe ground if we only heed the Light. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
Here are some conditions that lead us away, and not to, God and His Word;
1 BLINDNESS: Many are blind by choice, or prefer to follow a blind shepherd for the sake of acceptance.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)
2 OVERLY SELF-CONFIDENT: At the Last Supper, Peter made a boast that would humiliate him only a few hours later “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” (Matthew 26:33) That very night Peter denied thrice and went out and wept bitterly.
3 PRIDE: Pride may be considered the mother of all sin and is the first listed as sins that God literally HATES. “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:13-15) Pride is that mighty sin that expelled Lucifer from Heaven.
4 LOVE OF MAMMON: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” You will observe that God does not say money (an inanimate resource) is evil in and of itself – it is the LOVE of money that places its acquisition above all else and blinds the holder to Almighty God. Anything worldly that comes between God and man is evil. The world will blind us to things spiritual just as the Moon eclipses the greater Light – the Sun.
5 COVETOUSNESS: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” (2 Timothy 3:2) Have we loved self more than anything else? We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We do not amass to ourselves silos of grain while our neighbor begs a morsel of food. There are men today who sleep not in planning the means to take their neighbors holdings.
6. CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD: This may be the cardinal sin of the modern Church coupled with Pride! When we enter a church, the music should not mimic that of the world. The preaching prayers must be reverent and uttered in dignity. There should be no appeals for money as the Gospel is freely given, bit at great price to the Giver. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 (KJV)
7 FLESHLY ATTRACTION: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14) It is very likely that we may drift from the path laid out be the Shepherd from time to time, but we must have a firm hand upon which to hold and restore our balance. That is the Anchor of the Soul measured by faith. Though we may falter, we have an Advocate with the Father – our Lord Jesus Christ.