A guest post by Sr. Judith Hannah + + +
Are we a Stumbling Block
a Building Block
to Young Christians ?
Are we causing weakened, young, or new Christians to STUMBLE or to be EDIFIED by our actions or …
by our words ?
by our countenance ?
by our attitudes ?
Is what they SEE in us drawing them closer to CHRIST JESUS ?
Is what they see us doing REMINDING them of The LORD ?
Is what they see in us bringing CONVICTION upon them… without us speaking a word ?
then we need to change
something we are doing.
Is our walk so full of “freedom” from the “Law” that our freedoms cause a young or weak brother to stumble ?
Does our “freedom” wound the conscience of a weakened brother, causing him to think that self-indulgence is okay with The LORD ?
Weak brothers, as the Apostle Paul terms them, may NOT necessarily be “weak” because they do not love CHRIST JESUS.
They may have wounded hearts.
These wounds may stem from circumstances over which they had no control as a babe, child, or youth.
Oftentimes, such wounded ones STRUGGLE every day with trying to “be normal” or “be happy.”
Even though they have turned to CHRIST with all they know, they may have wounds that simply have not been healed yet, in the timing of The LORD.
We older ones in CHRIST realize that those deep inner healings come as we pick up our Cross and walk with The LORD JESUS, daily.
As we eradicate sinful acts AND ATTITUDES from our lives, The LORD strengthens us to live deeper in CHRIST.
When we go deeper with CHRIST JESUS, then the healings come.
For each of us, HE+ calls us to walk in the ways of righteousness with Our LORD.
No, we DO NOT FOCUS on our “healings.”
we FOCUS on CHRIST HIMSELF+.
We strive to please HIM+ in act and attitude.
When we fail, we repent.
HE+ LOVES HONESTY. When HE+ sees our inner honesty… then … HE+ picks us up, cleans the dirt off, and, lovingly but seriously, says,
“Next time, do it MY+ way.”
Just like the 10 lepers that were healed in Luke 17,
as we GO TOWARDS GOD,
HE+ heals us !
Marvelous! There is nothing we have done to “earn” our healing… just like the 10 lepers.
We simply MEET JESUS.
We acknowledge with everything that is within us that HE+ is indeed MASTER…. JESUS MASTER+, as the 10 lepers called HIM+ .
We ask HIM+ for mercy.
We listen for His+ Word to us.
THEN WE OBEY HIM+ !
And, as we walk along that path of obedience — ALWAYS GOING TOWARDS THE LORD — HE+ brings the healing.
Thus, those weakening and draining wounds we have carried so long gradually are healed as we make it a point to walk closely with CHRIST JESUS daily, picking up our Cross.
Then, we can hear HIM+ clearer. We have authority and freedom when we are freed from sin.
After that, we have some privileges and responsibilities because Our FATHER knows HE can trust us with them.
HOWEVER … it is those VERY “freedoms” that the Apostle Paul was warning us about using .
The freedom and authority addressed in 1 Corinthians 8 was being able to eat meat, flesh, which had been sacrificed to idols and then sold in the market place.
Some Christians knew they could cleanse the meat, spiritually, and thus were NOT eating corrupted flesh. Their conscience was clear.
Some, however, seeing them do this, thought it was “a thing allowed” … when really, it was NOT CLEAN before GOD. The weaker brother did not realize the TOTAL situation, and thus, he was made to stumble into sin.
He was only trying to “be normal” or “be happy,” just like he saw OTHER Christians do or be.
In our day, what if we should see a pastor or upstanding Christian walk into a bar or tavern?
A young Christian might not realize that he was going there to rescue his neighbor from drink. The young or new Christian might think the pastor was going to “un-wind” with his friends ... so it must be okay for him to do to this, too… at the local bar.
An older Christian might have been delivered from lust of the flesh, so he has the “freedom” to attend a swimming party with friends and family. He himself will not fall into sin if he attends.
However… if a younger Christian who has NOT fought the battle with lust of the flesh sees him attending, what will he think ?
The ladies will be there in skimpy, form-fitting swim wear which is seldom modest. The men will be scantily dressed also, to show their fine forms.
Yes, they are friends and family, but lust feasts on revealed flesh, regardless to whom it belongs.
The younger or weaker Christian may think this:
“This must not be wrong to do because THAT older CHRISTIAN is attending. So I can go with my friends and family to the swimming pool ( lake, party, hole, etc.). “
Thus, following the example of the “freed” Christian, the younger, weaker brother is put in harm’s way and his conscience is made weaker and even wounded.
Thus, let us spiritually WEIGH the witness we are ABOUT TO GIVE when we do things.
Not only is our witness to the world, but also, our witness and responsibility is to younger or weaker brethren.
Why should we think about them ?
BECAUSE CHRIST DOES.
Hear the Scriptures.
I Corinthians 8
But take heed lest by any means
this liberty of yours
become a stumblingblock
to them that are weak.
And through thy knowledge
shall the weak brother perish,
for whom CHRIST died?
But when ye sin so against the brethren,
and wound their weak conscience,
ye sin against CHRIST.
+ + +
Brethren, let us not sin against CHRIST with our “freedom.”
Let us always walk in agapA love towards the young, the weak, and the new Christian. Let us always, always, always being mindful to strengthen the young in CHRIST … AS THEY WATCH US bear witness to HIM+ Who+ is our Life.