At our home, we have enjoyed feeding birds over the years. Many a Lord’s Day, we eat our lunch while birds of many varieties feast on the seed we have provided. The doves are interesting, either running around on the ground picking up what has been dropped by others or perched up on the slopped roof of our barn. Things changed earlier this year when we invested in a new metal roof. As our dove friends landed on that familiar place, their feet were now on a slippery slope of shiny metal rather than the firm footing of the old asphalt shingles. For awhile, we were entertained by the sliding, as they kept trying to land where they no longer had a good grip. They had to learn where to land and stand safely.
One recent Lord’s Day, I watched two doves land on the peak of the barn roof. No slope there! I marveled at the adjustment they had made. But then … oh no! They were back on the slope, sliding again.
This illustration provides good questions for us to consider. Can we identify slippery slopes? Do we see dangers before us? How do we know where to stand?
My pastor often speaks of Scripture as the only safe place to stand. Why does he say this? Because it is the testimony of Scripture about itself. Scripture is a sure word, a safe word, a true word. I take comfort to think that every time I open my Bible and turn to a familiar passage, the words never change. They are always there. The word of our God stands forever (Isa. 40:8).
And we then take our stand as we put on the full armor of God. This armor includes the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:11, 17). In this way, we resist the devil’s schemes. Satan does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him (Matt. 12:44). We are sanctified by God’s word, which is truth (John 17:17). And we stand firm by remembering what we are taught through the word (2 Thess. 2:15).
We must not land in any place which is not safe. We must not stand for anything that does not match up with God’s sure word. Such places are not safe. Like the dove on my roof, you will lose your footing. You will slip. And slippery slopes lead only downward. You might think you are standing, but take heed, lest you fall (1 Cor. 10:13).
If we find we have landed in an unsafe, slippery place, we must remember we can never fall beyond the grasp of our Father. Through him, we stand in grace (Rom. 5:22), and we stand in the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1).
So take heart. God’s Word always helps us to know how and where to stand. And if we have placed ourselves on a slippery slope, the Lord can and will reach down, lift us up, and place our feet on level ground. With every temptation to stray from the truth, the Lord provides a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). When we cry out to him, he teaches us his way and leads us on a level path (Pss. 26:12, 27:11, 143:10).
In summary, as you fly about from day to day, looking for various places to land, consider your options carefully. Are you landing in a place where your feet will be securely placed on Christ and his word, or are you landing on a slope, which does not lead to firm standing? You cannot, you will not, land and stand firm, if you are not seeking the only safe place to land, the only sure place to stand.
In order to have firm footing, we need to stand upon Scripture; we need to stand upon Christ.