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Perils In Our Paths

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary
the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about,
seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

These are many perils we face in our journey with Christ. The Apostle Paul faced many, many great perils - yet he gave us more than half of the New Testament. Most of us will never face all the things that he did, yet we will face a few of the same ones. Three in particular can be stumbling blocks for our faith if we are not aware of them. We must be alert and on the lookout to avoid these three things.

1. People - Paul was surrounded by many fakes and hypocrites, and so are we. He specifically mentioned false brethren as many among his many perils (II Cor. 11:26) They may talk the talk, but do not walk the walk. Jesus sees through phoniness and hypocrisy, and we must learn to see through it as well. Nothing has the power to hurt us like betrayal from one we considered a friend or even a brother. Recognize those who are a peril to your faith and avoid them as much as possible.

2. Temptations - All temptation is from the devil, but it often comes through the people around us. We see in Matthew 16:1 where the Saducees and Pharisees came to Jesus , specifically to tempt Him. They wanted Him to show them a meaningless sign that would accomplish nothing, not to increase their believe in Him, but rather looking for a way to trip Him up and condemn Him. Jesus very quickly dealt with their hypocrisy, telling them "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. And he left them, and departed." (Matthew 16:4) And notice that after He rebuked them, He left. Do not fall for the temptation to prove yourself that the devil places before you.

3. Bad theology - Satan will always try to pervert the truth with subtle lies. Jesus told his disciples to "take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees", which was their false doctrines. (Matt. 16:6) Leaven, or yeast, is used to make bread. It permeates throughout the dough, and although it is invisible, it's effects are obvious. The bad theology of the Pharisees was self-righteousness. They believed in their own works to make them rightous and save them. The root of self-righteousness is pride and a sense of superiority. This false is still very prevalent today, and is very much a peril to every Christian.

The Sadducees had their own false doctrine, and theirs was just the opposite of that of the Pharisees. Instead of self-righteousness, their bad doctine was self-indulgence. Since they did not believe in resurrection, they believed that this life is all there is, so "eat, drink, and be merry" was the building block of their doctrine. We see this false doctrine of self-indulgence all around us today.

Neither one of these false doctrines leads to salvation, in fact, both are perils that can quickly destroy our walk. Discipleship is not instant. We must be faithful and consistant and always be alert to the dangers we face in our journey with Christ.


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