“You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing” (2 Peter 3:17 NLT).
While on a short hike behind my daughter’s house, she needed to go back to the house for a quick errand and left me with her two small children, expecting to meet back up with us further down on the trail. Overweight and overconfident—eager to prove my athletic ability to my grands—I saw no challenge ahead. We hiked a little further until we came to a stream. Before I could warn the kids not to cross it, they hopped over like rabbits in a garden.
While the nimble children could leap small hurdles in a single bound, Super Grandma was not so agile. I examined the stream, and the rocks seemed stable enough. However, half way across, I lost my footing and fell into the water, hitting my head against one of the boulders.
A few minutes later, my daughter returned to find the kids hovering over me, faces gray, worried Grandma had been broken. Though the situation could have resulted in more serious consequences, fortunately, besides a slight bruise, the only damage was to my pride and a slight headache.
As I recalled this event, I was reminded of my tendency to face spiritual obstacles with the same arrogance. If my confidence is not appropriately placed, how easy it is to lose my footing.
The word translated footing in the scripture above is “steadfast” in the KJV. The HCSB says “own stability.” The Amplified Version expands the concept of steadfastness—of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith. The Greek Word translated in these versions is stereoma, denotes “something established” or “stability.”
Peter warns that when we listen to false teachers, false counsel, and false adages, we are at risk of losing our stability. We cross our spiritual streams with a false sense of security.
The Believer’s Commentary’s notation on this verse states: “It is easy for the unsuspecting to be swept off their feet by the error of the wicked and to lose their spiritual balance.”
We are easily fooled by spiritual imitators, those whose counsel seems legitimate, perhaps the newest “advice” on the spiritual bandwagon, and the wisdom sounds perfectly sane and reasonable. However, we fail to give the advice a litmus test against God’s word or we forget to seek advice from the perfect counselor, The Holy Spirit, who abides within the believer. We become overconfident in our own knowledge, experiences, and judgments. We find ourselves in a stream of disappointment, perhaps spiritually bruised.
We are equally in peril if we cross feeling insecure as when we run full speed ahead with self-assuredness. Overcoming obstacles is the work of a sure foundation, rooted in faith, knowing who walks beside us, who has forged the way ahead, and who has secured out feet.
I have learned, through various humbling experiences, that my spiritual confidence is not achieved through deeds, experiences, or even my finite understanding, but rather through faith and walking with God in the Spirit. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help sustain us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).