For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Romans 7:18-19
Clive Pai likes to trip people up -- literally.
Of course, that is a sentence which calls for an explanation. Professor Pai, from the University of Illinois, knows that each year, one in three adults will take a tumble. He also knows that in 2010 more than 21,000 people died from injuries, which were related to an unexpected spill.
So that he might study how to help people survive their falls, the professor built a contraption that will trip them up -- on purpose. Now I know that sounds cruel, and it might be if the professor hadn't also invented a harness which stops those falling people from going splat.
During the course of his study, Professor Pai made an interesting discovery. He found out he could trip people up once, twice, maybe three times. But then, quite unexpectedly, people stopped falling.
That's right, they stopped going down in a heap.
Somehow, in someway, the brains of the 65 to 90 year old people Pai was studying learned how to compensate when their footing became insecure. These seniors learned how not to fall, and that new knowledge stayed with them for over a year.
Pai's discovery is a remarkable piece of information, and it may end up helping a great many people.
Sadly, there is no similar discovery when it comes to helping people avoid falling into sin.
In the seventh chapter of Romans, Paul was pretty candid about his sinful propensities. He admits even though he has a desire to honor the Lord and do what is right, he just keeps on sinning. He confesses he fails at doing good and is incredibly successful at doing the evil stuff he has been trying to avoid.
In short, there is nothing which can make us immune from falling into sin.
Thankfully, because of Jesus Christ, we can be saved from the tragedy, the punishment, the negative consequences of sin. Scripture is clear, "the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7b).
That passage means when the devil, the world, and our flesh trip us up, the Lord Jesus is there to pick us up, dust us off, and get us going again. Even more, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, we find our falls can be minimized and our lives can glorify the Redeemer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am a poor, miserable sinner. No matter how hard I try, I am unable to make a permanent and lasting change in my spiritual condition, which explains why I give thanks that Jesus has done all that was necessary to forgive and save my soul. May I learn to rely on Him. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries