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Stumbling Blocks and Obstacles

Stumbling Blocks and Obstacles

As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Romans, he’s explaining the relationship between strong and weak believers. We mustn’t fall prey to the temptation to judge one another. In my last post, I left off on this verse.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

Romans 14:13

I want to take the time to explain what these stumbling blocks and obstacles mean. It’s important for us to make it as easy as possible for growth to take place in the lives of fellow Christians.

The Greek word translated stumbling block, means a stub. It’s something sticking up from the ground, that will cause a person to trip. What does this mean in relation to weaker believers?

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.

1 Corinthians 8:9-11

When Paul wrote this, idol temples were the restaurants of his day. Selling the food that had been sacrificed was a way that these temples made money.

Paul taught that since these idols were nothing, you could eat this food without guilt. However, a Christian that might have worshiped at this temple before they were saved, would have a problem with it. In that case, the stronger Christian should be mindful of this issue.

What does that mean to us now? If you know that someone has rules in an area, then don’t rub your freedom in his face. If you know someone has an issue with scratch tickets, don’t wave your winning ticket in front of them.

“It’s not my fault they’re too weak to deal with it.”

But it is your fault if you don’t walk in love towards your fellow believers. That brings me to the word, obstacle. This word literally means a stick-trap. It’s what you see in the cartoons when a rope is hung from a bent tree.

This is a trap that will spring when you step in it. That’s what we’re doing when we don’t operate in love with a weaker Christian.

Maybe they had an issue with something before Christ. Maybe they were addicted to video games (Yes, that is an addiction) and the Lord had set them free from that. If you force them to play a game with you, the devil might use that to trap them all over again.

Do you really want to be the source of guilt and pain for a brother or sister in Christ? We must walk in love with each other.

As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

Romans 14:14

In this verse, Paul literally says that I have seen and I have been convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in and of itself. This is totally opposite what he was taught as a Pharisee. God must have done an incredible work in him.

But, Paul adds a footnote to this. If someone assigns the label of “unclean” to something, then to that person it is unclean.

It’s all about your attitude. If it reminds you of your sin and tempts you to return, then it’s unclean to you. Since you won’t be operating in faith, that would make it a sin for you to do it.

That’s why our overall outlook must be that of love, especially to those of us with a weak conscience. We mustn’t ridicule or judge each other for what someone feels strongly about. In that way we can all grow together as the body of Christ, fulfilling His call.

Question: What is an area of weakness for you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Food for the Journey of Life #wordofGod

TrailHave you been starving your inner man?  Spiritual victories require a healthy soul.

The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.  Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds.  With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.
Exodus 12:37-39

Israel was about to leave Egypt.  Moses, the man of God, had warned them days before that they would need to depart quickly.  In order to accomplish this, they took along dough made without yeast.

I’ve shared in the past that I like to get away now and then to hike and pray in the wilderness.

I’ve learned a lot of spiritual lessons along the way.  It comes as no surprise that one of the most important hiking supplies is food.  Thru-hikers walking the Appalachian Trail plan “food drops” to be waiting for them at strategic post offices along the route.  This way they can easily resupply along the way.

One Friday night in a shelter, I met a young man who was out of food and money.  This was a big problem for him even though he had a supply box waiting at a nearby post office.  Ahead of him was a full day’s walk to the post office (which closed at noon on Saturday).  This was compounded by the fact that this particular Monday was a holiday.  That would be three days without food.

I happened to be at the end of the section I was hiking – so I was able to bless him with a ride to pick up his drop before the post office closed.  Needless to say, he was very grateful.

That got me thinking of a spiritual application.  The Word of God is our spiritual bread.  There are many Christians who try to hike the road of life with only one or two meals a week.

So often we wonder why the obstacles of life take such a toll on us.  We blame God and ask why it’s so hard to serve Him.  All the while we live in spiritual starvation.

We need a constant diet of God’s Word if we’re to be victorious.  In the same way that we can’t be healthy without nutritious food, we can’t live for God without a diet of His Word.

Please don’t neglect this vital nourishment.

Question: What do you do to keep well fed in the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Word of God

 

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