I spent last weekend in Chicago and was blessed to stay at a hotel that was within walking distance of many places I wanted to see. But for me, along with walking comes stumbling. It wasn’t so much the big, obvious obstacles like stairs or curbs that were the problem. It was the little, unexpected things like uneven sections of sidewalk that caused me to stumble. I’m just thankful I didn’t fall.
Dictionary.com says that to stumble is “to strike the foot against something, as in walking or running, so as to stagger or fall; trip,” but it also defines stumbling as making “a slip, mistake, or blunder, especially a sinful one.” Maybe that’s why the word “stumble” is used so often in the Bible.
I did some of this biblical stumbling after I arrived home, but thankfully I didn't fall there either. I had an appointment early the next morning, but before I left I found myself turning the house upside-down looking for the checkbook, which I didn’t find. Then I got in my van, and as I turned my head to back out of the garage, I saw that the back end was full of dirt. Not just dirty, but under several inches of dirt. And this just a week after my annual vacuuming!
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” James 3:2. There is a reason James connected stumbling with the tongue. I know it was my tongue leading me to stumble that day. My first inclination, before even leaving the house that morning, was to interrupt my husband and inquire as to the whereabouts of the checkbook. (I must admit that these words sound much nicer than the ones that would have come out of my mouth at the time.)
What kept me from saying those words, from stumbling and falling into sin, and kept me on track? God’s Word. Because I’ve spent time in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit is able to remind me of what I’ve read. Scripture tells us that’s one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” ~ John 14:26
So, what Scripture did the Holy Spirit bring to mind? Proverbs 10: 19 “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” At that moment, I knew the choice was mine: Would I be wise, or would I be a fool? Thankfully, God doesn’t just tell us what to do, he equips us to do it. We don’t need to fall into sin, whether it’s a sin of the tongue or anything else. Praise God, He is able to keep us from falling!
“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” ~ Jude 1:24-25
I can’t say it any better than Jude. Amen!