The Church-on-the-Corner of Anytown America offers several electives for the adult education hour. The “Stepping Stones” class is for those new to the faith. “Building Blocks” is for those maturing in their faith. Have you seen the sign for the class called “Stumbling Blocks”?
The teacher explains, “Before we created this class, people were just falling into it naturally. You know, being a stumbling block without really thinking about it. Now they have developed their skills and are far more aware of all the opportunities available to them out there in the world.”
No such class? Good!
Whether we like to admit it or not, few actions affect only ourselves. Their ripples reach out to impact others—too often in a negative way. We understand that sin is an obvious stumbling block. What about the less obvious?
We become stumbling blocks for others (especially new believers or seekers) when we nitpick about non-essential things. When we make big deals out of issues that are of relatively little significance to the Christian faith, we may inadvertently cause someone else to lose their focus, to get drawn off course and completely miss the essentials.
We form stumbling blocks when we argue among ourselves. Infighting not only displeases the Lord God who seeks harmony, but confuses and distresses those who are just beginning to see from God’s Word that His desire for us is unity and peace and love between brothers and sisters in the faith. They hear us preaching and teaching about that kind of love, but see us ignoring the instruction of God’s Word on this very crucial issue.
We inadvertently erect a stumbling block in the path of others when we show a lack of faith, taking matters into our own hands instead of trusting the Lord with a problem, despairing as those who have no hope in crisis times, allowing our relationship with the Lord to waiver because of a wave of adversity.
Even solid followers of Christ can become stumbling blocks when they obsess about a single issue. Obsessing about a single issue does not make for dedication. It makes for imbalance, and it has the potential to cause others who are weaker or newer in the faith to lose sight of the central truth of the Gospel: that Christianity is a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Lord, hold my feet firmly to the path, so I’ll serve as a stepping stone for others to find You, a foothold for faith, not a stumbling block.
“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block,” I Corinthians 8:9-13 KJV.
Today’s devotional is by Cynthia Ruchti, writer/producer of THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME radio ministry and president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Cynthia’s debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home—releases with Abingdon Press May 1, 2010–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtZb0by984g. Cynthia writes stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark (www.cynthiaruchti.com).