“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12, KJV)
When I served in the United States Army, I was stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany in the early 70s. One of my assignments was as the Battalion Maintenance Officer in the 3rd Armor Division. While on field maneuvers, I received a radio call that there was an M60A2 tank stuck in the mud and I needed to see what was necessary recover it. They gave me the coordinates and I had my jeep driver take me to the location.
When I got on the location, I discovered it as a large open field. I looked and could not see any tank that was stuck in the mud. I then took my binoculars and scanned the area and saw what looked like a stick protruding straight up out of the ground. Then I noticed a metal hump, the commander’s cupola of a tank, sticking out of the ground. Yes, the tank was totally buried in the mud with about three-fourths below the mud. Then I saw some soldiers running around in the mud, their olive-drab uniforms were completely brown from the mud.
This is not the worst of it. Yes, Alpha Company had one tank buried in the mud. But then I saw another Alpha Company tank barreling at high speed towards the buried tank. They saw the tank, and I saw the tank commander pointing his finger at the crew of the buried tank and laughing. Then that tank drove into the same hole of mud. The mud rolled up over the front of the tank like a wave. Yes, this one was stuck also, buried right alongside the other one and just as deep.
I sat there in my jeep laughing myself. Not at the situation, but about the irony of the commander of the second tank. He actually pointed and laughed at the situation the first tank was in and then ended up in the exact situation. Both tanks were now stuck. I called Battalion Headquarters and told them, “You’re not going to believe this,” and called for two M88 recovery vehicles to pull them out.
This true story seems to illustrate perfectly what Paul addressed in this verse. The overconfident one will often stumble because of his overconfidence. This is a huge issue when it comes to living victorious over sin. Believers need to be ever cognizant of the weakness of the flesh. This is so we will be vigilant and watchful for the things that will easily tempt us.
I knew a man once who truly struggled with alcohol. He made a profession of faith. There were signs of recovery as his entire countenance changed. There was one big problem. He falsely thought that now he could handle the alcohol that his old nature craved. Yet, this was an area of weakness. He was overconfident. A few weeks later, he ended up right back where he began with the addiction.
The point here is that we must be realistic. We have not yet escaped the problem of the old nature. Yes, we have a new divine nature that came through the working of the Holy Spirit when He regenerated us. However, we cannot become arrogantly overconfident. We must recognize our weaknesses and continuously seek to be filled with the Spirit. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18, KJV)