five times i received at the hands of the jews the forty lashes less one. three times i was beaten with rods. once i was stoned. three times i was shipwrecked; a night and a day i was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; [2 corinthians 11:24-26]

paul underwent such testing in his life that most of us will never see. such trials and temptations to quit, such suffering that we probably can’t imagine. a lot of things to which we might even say, “i don’t know if i could pass such a test.”

but church, we cannot be blind to the situation at large, as we are most definitely being tested right now. we undergo such dangers that paul probably could not imagine! such temptation that he might feel he wouldn’t be able to pass! so as we consider this list together, we have to pose the question… “how do these dangers affect me?”

the danger of false teaching
the danger of beauty
the danger of lust (in person, in thought, or virtually)
the danger of laziness
the danger of busyness
the danger of wealth
the danger of netflix
the danger of fitting in
the danger of status at work
the danger of status in the church
the danger of comfort
the danger of letting others define me
the danger of social media

some of these are not inherently evil in and of themselves. some of them are. the dividing line is between you and the Lord. and this list is in no way exhaustive; maybe you know of others. so how are you doing in all of these tests? i know i am failing at several. but thanks be to our gracious Father whose mercies are new every morning.

so in the presence of Him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light…

Father, you are holy. you are jealous for me, and for your church. i confess this giving into the traps of the enemy, and thank you, Lord, for your endless mercies. thank you that your love for me far surpasses any trap i may fall into, and that you are faithful to pull me out, draw me near, and keep me forever as your own. in your Son, i know i have victory over these dangers! so let me live out of who i am in him. a child of the King, to the praise of your glorious grace. amen.

teach me your way, o Lord, that i may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. [psalm 86:11]


~arwen eastman