~I Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
You’re running along a winding path through the forest one day. You come around a curve and suddenly trip over a large branch in the pathway. It would have been nice had you been warned prior to coming around that curve to beware of the obstacle ahead, wouldn’t it? During one of my recent hikes at the beautiful Sweet Creek (pictured above), I was walking along the trail and concentrating on the beauty around me. A tree’s large roots were protruding out of the ground and my foot was caught up in them, causing me to stumble.
Today’s account was a good one to meditate on – the stumbling blocks of my life. Granted, I have stumbled many a time along my Christian walk. But have I been a stumbling block to someone else? What do others see me doing, whether sinful or not, that could be interpreted incorrectly?
We don’t know who is watching us. It could be a total stranger, a member of our own household, or a co-worker. Are my actions a large root in someone’s pathway of life? Today’s emerging church sadly screams “liberty in Christ” to justify their worldly living. That is a very selfish thought. We are not at liberty to do worldly things – we are at liberty of being judged by the Law because we are saved from the yoke of the Law’s bondage – we are free from that bondage of sin! We are able to say no to sin and are no longer controlled by it!
~Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1
Do my actions revolve around self and the gratification of my flesh? Paul encourages me to think of my weaker brethren in the Lord. I don’t know if there is a weaker brother listening in on a conversation or watching my actions.
~I Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
~I Corinthians 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:
Being a Christian has responsibilities which involve selflessness. It’s not about my liberties but it’s all about my brother’s weaknesses. Paul exhorts me to esteem others, not myself. Today’s self-esteem gospel is a false gospel. It’s just an excuse for Christians to live like the world, talk like the world, and do the same thing the world does. There’s no encouragement to beware of being a stumbling block to a weaker brother.
Christ encourages all of us to be servants (John 13:5). Someone who is concerned about others will have no problem serving. There is no self esteem in a servant’s attitude. It’s all about serving the Master and what His needs are, amen? Just think back on the days of slavery. A slave was not his own – he did not as he wished but did what his master bid. Wow! Oh that each Christian today would be this type of servant.
~Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
When we are thinking of others, we monitor our own actions with that same thought process. I must be careful that my own actions do not cause my brother to fall into sin. A good example is what some call “Christian cursing.” I’m sorry but that is such an oxymoron. Should a Christian ever curse? Absolutely not! What if a weaker Christian, one who is recently saved, hears you using ‘potty’ words? He will think that it’s O.K. to do so! You may later fall under conviction for having used those words but that weaker brother won’t know this. You will never know who you affected by your actions and, therefore, may cause a brother to stumble. What a responsibility this is!
~Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
Our Christian walk should not be about “what is good or allowable for me” but, instead, what is good for my brother in Christ. A carnal Christian will try to justify his actions by saying that it’s the responsibility of the other person, not their’s. I recently saw an article on modest clothing for women. The article’s main theme was immodestly dressed women cause men to lust after them. A woman responded that it was not her clothing that caused the man to lust but his own heart. Wow! Really? Would he have stumbled if he had not seen her immodest apparel? This is exactly what Paul is talking about. If this woman had a servant’s heart, rather than serving her own fleshly desires, she would have fallen under conviction over this article and would have immediately stopped wearing immodest clothing. Instead, she balked and defended her lifestyle. This is selfish – this is not esteeming the other better than herself. In fact, she is obsessed with self.
In closing, what does my walk do for someone else? Do I encourage another to live righteously by my actions? Or do I encourage another to live like the world? 😦
What a responsibility we have. What a responsibility I have! I must live like someone’s always watching!