guard up!

You've probably heard all the horror stories. So-and-so -- what a strong Christian! -- and then they completely blew it and turned into worldly monster and left their perfect Christian life in the ditch!

It always left me feeling clammy. Especially when you read the books it could happen to anybody - even you! It's enough to scare your conscience into an hysterical fit, and you carefully watch every step you make and confine yourself no further than your bedroom to avoid "falling into the trap". Sadly, every Christian is tempted and it's about a 90% chance that they'll fall for it. Unless, of course, you are one of those non-existent Christians who have never sinned since they were saved.

What made them fall for the bait? Why were they so stupid to completely step out of the truth and grasp what was clearly (to us, that is) something that was pure wrong?

Paul wrote a lot of letters to confused Christians. He praised them for their sincere love and desire for God. And we see their problems and think - no way. I mean, this is serious stuff they were entangled in (just take a peek at some of Paul's letters). Although I have no doubt that some knew what they were doing was wrong, many of them had no idea. I mean, they loved God, but they had no idea that their lifestyle was blatantly evil and corrupt. So Paul helped them out a bit. Do not be deceived, brethren! (that phrase seems to come up a lot...)

Back to my general thought, what made "strong" Christians fall for the bait? Why do I find hurt and lost Christian friends hugging a pillow tightly and crying till their eyeballs are dry?

They let down their guard - if they had any. I came to the conclusion this morning that I really had no point blank standards. I usually avoided such, because I always seemed to be changing my stand on something. So, I grabbed out my laptop and picked a variety of topics that should be addressed and quickly wrote out some guidelines for myself. Just to help me when I'm wondering what to do in a situation, and my first gut feeling is to do whatever I want to - which probably is not such a great idea.

Some of them were silly. Such as going to bed no later than 11:00 (I'm not sure how that's going to work out) and turning off my computer at 10:00 pm. Spending no more than twenty minutes a day on the computer unrelated to schoolwork or writing. I thought of situations in which Christians had stumbled and carefully jotted down my standard for the situation. Parents, friends, social media, computers, guys, and hurt feelings.

Stuck in the middle was this: I will keep my standards to myself and to myself only. I hate it when people push their guard and their convictions onto someone and practically murder them alive if they refuse to agree with them. Therefore, you are entitled to go to bed no later that 3:00 am with no regrets. It's your conscience. And your sleep depravity.

So, I'm not guaranteeing if you write down a list of guidelines that you're going to respond correctly and wisely whenever the situation occurs. I'm still going to be tempted and I'm still going to sin. But this time - I'm ready. I think.

What are some of your "guidelines" that you apply to yourself in a given situation?

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Maira Gall