Standing on Clay Feet

Many  of us have heard the story of King
 Nebuchadnezzer’s dream in Daniel chapter 2. The multi-metal statue in the
 dream was pictured standing on feet made of clay and iron mixed together. 
Contrasted with the rest of the statue, the feet were fragile. From that
 prophetic image has come the saying, “we all have feet of clay.” According
to wikipedia, “The analogy is now commonly used to refer to a weakness
or or character flaw, especially in people of high station.”

Recently we were saddened to learn that a leader who has blessed our 
family through his teaching and friendship has clay feet. We all understand
 at some level that we are sinful by nature. But to hear the story of the 
perfidy in a spiritual leader is both saddening and alarming.

A question that arises when a teacher stumbles is this: What do we do 
with the message if the messenger goes down? I believe that even sad
 experiences like this can be a blessing to God’s people if we will let them.
 Yes, the Kingdom gets a black eye – again. But there are at least four
 lessons I am taking away from this sad experience.

1. These are the episodes that remind us to keep our hopes and our eyes
 fixed on Jesus. He alone is our hope, our example, and our foundation.

2. We must be faithful to STUDY for ourselves. If our lives are based on
 the experience or teaching of another, we are building on sand. We can 
learn from others; be inspired by them, to be sure. But we must anchor our
 experience in the word of God.

3. Isolation (not to be confused with solitude) is destructive. When we 
separate ourselves from the body of Christ, when we believe that truth
 as we understand it trumps anyone else’s understanding, we are set up 
for a fall. We need to be in regular community with others and maintain
 accountability. We all are capable of atrocious sin. I have clay feet and
 so do you. Apart from Christ and his Body the church, we are vulnerable.

4. The need for balanced, biblical, teaching on practical Christianity and 
relationships is greater than ever before. We must press forward with
 all the resources at our disposal to share what we are learning. God’s
 message has always been advanced by men and women who are prone to 
fall. We can neither ignore sin nor abandon the message.

We must be mindful of Paul’s admonition, “If you think you are standing 
strong, be careful not to fall.” I Cor. 10:12 NLT When a warrior falls in Israel, 
there is no place for rejoicing. Let us pick up the banner and advance with
 renewed determination.

– Richie

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc

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