CONNECT people to Christ and POUR into their lives His teaching so they'll OVERFLOW for the glory of God

A Stumbling Block

One of the worst things in the world is getting up in the middle of the night only to find out the hard way as you make your way across that dark room that somebody has left something in your pathway as you stumble over it. After you get over the initial shock, your first question is:  who left this there?! We likely have been on both sides of that sort of situation:  the one who stumbled and the one who caused the stumbling.

Well, we can do the same thing spiritually. The Holy Spirit encourages us in Romans 14 to decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. A stumbling block spiritually can be encouraging a person to sin or doing something sinful yourself that discourages them in their walk with Christ. The Bible promises severe punishment in these situations.

But there is another type of stumbling block that Paul addresses in Romans 14. It’s doing something not sinful in front of a weaker Christian who thinks it is sinful. The stronger Christian knows that these things are not sinful and are a matter of Christian wisdom liberty. You are free to do them or not do them. But the weaker Christian sees these things as issues of law. In their eyes, you either must do them or you must not do them.

Paul gives an example of eating ceremonially unclean food in front of a weaker brother or sister. Remember, under the Old Covenant, there were several foods Jews couldn’t eat, including pork. But under the New Covenant, people can eat anything. Paul eating a pork chop to the glory of God in front of a weaker brother who had recently converted from Judaism could be a stumbling block for that brother. So, Paul essentially says, we must be willing to abstain from pork chops in the presence of the weaker brother. We don’t want to offend them and push them away from Christ or lead them to do what they think is sinful.

We could point to several modern examples of this:  the clothes you wear, moderate alcohol use, the games you play, the shows you watch, the holidays you observe, how you have fun. Paul says that when we engage in our Christian liberty, we have to be mindful of the faith of those around us. We don’t flex our liberty. We show love by restraining our liberty if need be. Our weaker brother or sister is more important than our liberty. Be mindful of them and their weakness and work to disciple them to strength so they too can eventually enjoy their liberty in Christ!

Change begins in you!


Leave a Reply