So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! - 1 Cor 10:12 NIV
It is funny how seemingly nothing can trip us up and make us stumble from time to time, isn't it? I sure hope that someone else besides me has tripped over nothing in their path before when walking across a room! :) Just as in the physical world, we are no different spiritually. It never fails that once we get clicking along in life that something appears to trip us up. That something could be an emotion, an attitude, an event or even another person that challenges us and temporarily prevents us from being our best. It could even be our "favorite" adversary, Satan, taking advantage of our weaknesses. The key is to never think we are too mature or wise, etc. to ever stumble like "those other people" do.
Paul knew the dangers of becoming complacent in his Christian walk. In 1 Corinthians 10: 1-13, he reminds the Corinthians of this very thing. In short, Paul writes that their forefathers displeased God with their actions, in spite of being spiritually fed so that they could grow into mature believers. From the text, here is what Paul says:
1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Jesus Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. (1 Cor 10:1-5 NIV)
It is interesting to me that Paul equates the power of faith in Jesus Christ to that of the power the Jews had in their relationship with God - the spiritual rock of Jesus Christ. However, even with their access to the Rock, they strayed from God's ways. This should be a sober reminder to all of us that it is imperative to stay intimately connected to God through His Word. In order to deter them from following the same path of idolatry, sexual sins, and testing God, Paul exhorts his readers to remember the punishment God inflicted on the people of Israel due to their disobedience. He tells them to be careful, lest they fall.
So how can we apply this passage to our lives? We are really no different from the Christians in Corinth. The good news is like them, you and I have access to the strength and power of Jesus in our lives. The bad news is, we are also prone to the same sins as they. To watch our steps and keep from falling, we need to stay close to our Guide by knowing God's Word. We need to heed the examples of those that went before us. That's the best way of being "careful" that I know.