A great evangelist once said, “I don’t look for scriptures to appease my flesh. I look for them to crucify it.” I have such a great appreciation for that statement because the Word of God has such transforming power. It can help transform our thinking and behavior to be more Christ-like; something that will not only bless our life but the lives of those our life touches. Therefore, I want my life pricked and challenged by God’s Word.
One of the more challenging and life changing verses that I’ve ever read comes from Matthew 18:7. “How terrible it will be for anyone who causes others to sin. Temptation to do wrong is inevitable, but how terrible it will be for the person who does the tempting.”
As a new Christian and growing believer, I was challenged by my first Christian mentor to understand how important it is to not be a stumbling block to others. My mentor said, “You will find that you will try to justify hanging on to certain behaviors, attitudes, or vices. I won’t tell you what they are because that is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will reveal them to you through His Word. You’ll then have a decision to make. Will you humble yourself like an obedient child and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and make the changes He is asking you to make, or will you try to justify your actions?” “You’ll find that the change the Lord is asking you to make will affect more than just yourself—it will directly or indirectly affect others. If they see you cling to your old ways, they’ll take it as justification to do the same. If they see that God has done a work in you, it has the potential to minister to them and affect them. They will think about the changes they see in you and it will open the door for God to work in their life. So, as God’s Word tries to speak to you, you’ll face choices. You’ll either cling to fleshy or carnal behaviors and attitudes, causing you to be a stumbling block to others and hindering your own spiritual growth, or you’ll let God work in you and let the power of the Holy Spirit transform an area of your life.”
That was powerful counsel but the scriptures pricked my heart at even another level. Matthew 18:5-6 says, “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to stumble, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.”
Ouch! These words from Jesus made me realize how serious not being a stumbling block to others is. It helped me realize that my life is not my own. I don’t just live it for myself. My life is to be a living letter to be read by others. God wants change in me not just for myself, but also because it can benefit others by example. Jesus went on to say that if I am doing something that is unprofitable, to pluck it out of my life because if I don’t, it could affect myself (and others) much more negatively than I could ever imagine. I try to think through this truth in every aspect of my life. As the evangelist said, “I don’t look for scriptures to appease my flesh. I look for them to crucify it.” I don’t want to be appeased. I want to be transformed!
These words help me think through my thoughts and behaviors realizing their affect reach beyond my own personal life!
2 Cor. 5:15 “Jesus died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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