The Cost of Overconfidence
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Back when my son was old enough to get his license he began to watch me drive. Frankly, it made me think about how I was driving. I wasn't sure I wanted him to copy everything he saw me do. I mean, I'd been driving for 25 years or so, and maybe that was the problem. I think I'd become - I don't know - a little overconfident with that ton of steel that I propel down the highway, maybe even a little careless sometimes. I suspect overconfidence is the invisible cause of many crashes...many crashes.
Now our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Corinthians chapter 10. I'm going to begin reading at verse 11. It's speaking of the children of Israel in the wilderness; the heritage that they had but also the awful mistakes and sins that they committed. It says, "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come." And that was speaking of Christ. Then it goes on to say, "So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall."
Now, who's this addressed to? Well, this is about spiritual veterans. The people of whom Paul was speaking were Bible people; they were eyewitnesses to miracles, they were daily led by God with the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. But the passage that precedes this warning tells us that they somehow slipped into sexual sin, into bitterness toward God, into putting other allegiances ahead of God. Now how do folks like you and me suddenly, or is it suddenly...become spiritual casualties?
Well, verse 12 says, "If you think you're standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." It implies that the killer might just be overconfidence. Maybe we've been driving this Christian vehicle for a while. We know all the dangers, we know all the tricks, we know all the formulas, we know all the shortcuts. But overconfident Christians crash.
Two reasons: one, because we stop being careful. We've done it a long time, so we tend to walk along the edge of the cliff of temptation saying, "Hey, I've been at this a long time. No problem." We play with sin instead of running from it. We push our limits. We let garbage into our mind. Like David on that day off, we end up committing the worse sin of our life because we're careless. We underestimate the power of sin, and we overestimate the power of us.
The second reason I think that overconfidence is a spiritual killer is it makes us stop being dependent. In the early days of following Christ, remember, you used to cling like cloth to Jesus saying, "Lord, I can't even make it through the day without You." But hey, you've been doing it for a long time now, huh? Maybe now you're depending on your own discipline, dedication, your track record. Oh, the Devil loves that, because you're easily beaten now.
The only way to stay pure is to daily, consciously wrap yourself in Jesus' righteousness and strength. The Bible says, "If you think you're standing..." Maybe you're there; you think you're doing okay. But you're hurtling down the highway with one finger on the wheel, eyes everywhere but on the road.
You could be a spiritual accident looking for a place to happen. There's a very high price for overconfidence.