Stumble Free Faith

Wendy Pope

Day: 24 | Plan: Matthew

Today's Reading: Matthew 18

Matthew 18:8 (NIV) If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.

Did Jesus really tell us to cut off our hands or feet if they cause us to stumble in our faith? Those were His words, but let’s understand what He meant. He isn’t advocating the amputation of appendages. He knows full well the removing of hands and feet, or the gouging of eyes (John 18:9), will not remove sin. Jesus makes such an extreme statement to make us take an extreme look at our sin.

About a decade ago I decided to listen to God and obey all that He asked me to do. The way I was directing my life wasn’t working out so great. As soon as I turned over control, God got personal and picky.

Suddenly the dial on my radio needed to be adjusted. The television shows I enjoyed became questionable. The reading material I relished brought conviction rather than pleasure. Even my relationships changed.

What we listen to, watch and read may not be listed in the Bible as sin, but if participating in them doesn’t draw us closer to God, then it pulls us away from Him. A certain TV show, which will remain nameless, demonstrated lifestyles that weren’t god-honoring but I loved it. My heart stirred with an assurance that I should remove the show from my viewing list … but I loved it.

As I continued to watch the show I sensed the Lord’s displeasure and distance forged in our relationship. I felt myself stumbling away from Him. The separation from God wasn’t worth the temporary enjoyment of the show. I turned the channel and haven’t watched the show since. When we choose to walk away from rather than submitting to God’s work in our heart we separate ourselves from Him. 

We stay surefooted in our faith when we stay grounded in God’s principles. This lifestyle not only keeps us from stumbling but gives us the confidence to help others who are stumbling.

Prayer: Lord, standing strong and sure in my faith is my heart’s desire. I never want to be the cause of someone stumbling in their faith. Thank You for this extreme warning. Help me to be extreme with my sin by allowing You to change my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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