Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12
This verse comes after several verses wherein Paul talks about how all of the people who took part in the exodus from Egypt were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. They had a shared spiritual experience. Paul continues on to say that with most of them God was not well-pleased. These people who lived miracles and continued to live because of daily miracles were the ones with whom God was not well-pleased.
Why was God not pleased with them? Paul explains that some of them were idolaters and some were immoral and some tested God and some grumbled — i.e. discontentedly complained against God … the same God Who was giving them literal manna from Heaven — and God is not pleased by any of these things. Paul reaches the conclusion that these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction. Since these things are written for my instruction, Paul gives me some insight as to how I might apply it.
First, let me evaluate whether I think I stand or whether I am reliant on God for my standing. There is a chasm between those two viewpoints. The one who thinks he stands looks at his life and sees everything going okay. Sure, he has some immoral things going on, but not as bad as that other guy about whom we will not speak (that would be gossip, after all). And, yes, he has some things that regularly keep him from fellowship, but God is everywhere and he can worship God anywhere, right? The one who relies on God for his standing looks at a life very similar to the first and sees those immoralities as things that God must remove from his life if he is ever to be fit for Heaven. He sees those things that keep him from fellowship as things to be removed from his life. After all, what profit is it to a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his own soul? The one who thinks he stands might be saved, but he is not experiencing the joys of salvation or coming into closer relationship with the One he claims to follow. The one who relies entirely on God knows that he must get closer to God than he is now, because this close is too far away.
Let me place myself squarely in the group who is reliant completely on God; who knows that however close I am is still much too far away; who is, like my God, mindful that I am but dust and I should not expect much from a dirt bag. On the contrary, every good thing that I find within me is placed there by God and for His glory. Let me be mindful of that and I will not think I stand. If I think I stand, let me be very careful, because I am then in serious danger of a fall.