The Stumbling Block
- The definition of the stumbling block
The stumbling block is one of the excuses that causes you too many troubles and makes your life slow and heavy. You become unable to kick off spiritually.
Hebrews 12:1:” 12 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”.
Here, he is talking about a scene of a stadium, and the “cloud of witnesses” is the supporters. By cloud, he does not mean the one you see in the sky, but rather it is like the cloud that took Jesus when he ascended, which was not an ordinary cloud, but rather it was the believers of the Old Testament who died and rose when the graves were opened. This cloud is the heroes of faith of the Old Testament mentioned in Hebrews 11 (Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab…etc.).
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about” he used the present continuous tense because it is happening now. We have supporters around us and they are the ones who died and were on the list of the heroes of faith because not every believer who died was a hero of faith, but only those who are so in the eyes of God. These are the ones whom the Holy Spirit makes them see and attend parts of the meetings that we hold as believers at this time.
“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us” lay aside everything that weighs you down. Here, he is talking about a type of a sport that the Romans used to practice in that era where they used to wear weights (an iron jacket) and run.
He is talking about having supporters around you as you run, but they do not touch the ground or do anything here because those who have died do not have power on earth other than to see believers and encourage them. Any interference between the spiritual realm, the people who have died, and the earth is unbiblical because no dead person has the right to interfere here on earth unless he has a living body. The living body is what gives him the license to interfere on earth.
“And let us run with patience” to exist or to continue to fight with determination. We run with determination and patience. There are things that hold you back and make you heavy; therefore, you must get rid of every spiritual problem in order to run quickly and lightly in your spiritual life and one of these problems is the stumbling block.
Most of the believers think that avoiding stumbling is achieved by not showing your color and your doctrine to another person, or not taking your rights in your work, meaning not filing a complaint against others, or not eating a certain food at a certain time so as not to cause anyone to stumble. The stumbling blocks for people mean not demanding your rights lest others stumble. This is the opposite of what the Lord Jesus taught, as there is a greater meaning to stumbling.
A stumbling block is something that hinders you spiritually, makes you lean or deviate, fall, or to get angry and unhappy with everything. It is not a requirement that the thing that made you stumble should be something negative. For example, Jesus was a stumbling block for many, even though He is God manifested in the flesh. Perhaps you stumble over verses in the Bible because it was not achieved in your life and this is what makes you heavy and unable to move. Or you stumble from certain people. A stumbling block is a word used to describe the reason for getting out of something that is right. Like the word” sin”, it is used to mean” being off target”.
When someone causes you to stumble, this means that he caused you to deviate from the right thing and made you feel upset, which means that you were affected by him, even though you are supposed to effect and not being affected by the surrounding circumstances and to triumph in the face of the stumbling blocks. John 5:26:” 26 for as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” this shows that He is not waiting for help or support from heaven.
Romans 9:30-33:”30 what shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.32 wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone; 33 as it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed”.
“That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness” they did not seek righteousness, yet they have attained; Whereas, God’s people could not attain nor realize this righteousness due to their lack of faith.
“For they stumbled at that stumbling stone” the stumbling stone here is Jesus because He has become a problem to them. A stumbling block is feeling some kind of a disability in your spiritual life; the feeling of slowness, displeasure, and shame. So you must be well aware of not to falling into that. The Word of God says in Matthew 18:7:” 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” surely, the stumbling blocks will come so you must take precautions. Everyone has gone through stumbling blocks without exception. They may be from people or scriptures that you stand before and cannot find solutions to it or understand it.
- Surely, the stumbling blocks will come
Luke 17:1-4:”17 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him”.
A stumbling block will certainly come into your life, as it will maybe be through someone’s ridicule or criticism of you or perhaps a person who is in a position criticizes you or speaks to you negatively while he is not directing or teaching you. Due to this, you must be careful not to stumble, because staying away from the stumbling blocks once and for all is out of question.
“Take heed to yourselves” that is, be careful. You can protect yourself from stumbling blocks. If there are some believers who are hindering you spiritually and making you feel heavy, then you need to put boundaries.
“If thy brother trespasses against thee, rebuke him” if he caused you to stumble, stop him as if you are saying to him: “Stop. I will not allow you to hinder me spiritually”. Do not be afraid or ashamed to stop him. The Word says “Take heed to yourselves” if someone causes you to stumble, set limits for him.
“And if he repents, forgive him” if he repents, you can restore your relationship with him again. Note that the bible here emphasizes on forgiveness.
Matthew 18:6-9:”6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire”.
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me” the stumbling block happens to a person walking down a road. If he is a sinner, he won’t accept Jesus, and if he is a believer, it will hinder him from continuing his life with Jesus. For this reason, Jesus previously said: “Woe to the world because of its offences!” the word “woe” means a catastrophe happening to the world because of offences. Offences or the stumbling blocks are one of the things that the believer should deal with and get rid of the excuses which he built in his life due to the stumbling blocks.
Matthew 25:24-29:”24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath”.
There is a sin called “not investing in your talents.” Not everyone pays attention to it. The Lord Jesus discussed the excuse of the person who did not trade his talent as a result of his wrong knowledge of his master, and said to him: “If you did not trade your talent, you should have put it with the money changers.” This person is wrong. He is evil and lazy, and laziness is evil, and this applies to people who do not study the Word justifying it by saying that they find it difficult to understand, when in fact they do not seek it.
You must realize how to overcome the stumbling blocks that come your way and to break the usual excuse. When someone causes you to stumble, in this case many believers would find excuses for themselves about the stumble.
The Word of God makes it clear in Proverbs 26:13:” 13 the slothful man saith, there is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets”. The excuses made up by a lazy person saying: “There is a lion outside, there is something scary, and if I go out, it will kill me.” Believers believe that it is not good for them to delve into the spiritual life and because of that they are suffering today. The solution is to overcome these excuses so that they can begin their relationship with the spirit.
Proverbs 18:19 (King James Version):”19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle”.
Proverbs 18:19 (NLT):” an offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars”.
When you stumble, your heart will not be smooth with the Word. For example, you may stumble in your pastor and say: “How does he say this?” Even if you did not say “the word stumble” explicitly, but you feel disgusted on the inside and you may or may not be right, and because of that, many believers have isolated themselves and left the Lord, saying: “We will worship the Lord at home”, or they will attend meetings in more than one place and not put their hearts in one place only, and they will talk a lot about their hurt by servants because of their violence and their harsh treatment of them in front of others.
These excuses can and do happen, and the Lord Jesus did it, as He rebuked the disciples in front of people. He also talked in the Epistles about rebuking people in front of others if they continue to sin and warning them, and because you do not know what the Word says, you think this should not happen.
- It is possible for the stumbling blocks to lead to a fall or hell
Stumbling leads to a fall, and not only that, but there are those who fall and break and their lives may be completely destroyed if they do not address it. This is not limited to falling into sin only, but also anything that you are upset or disgusted by.
Ephesians 2:10:” 10 for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”.
We are his masterpiece, the piece that God created, we are his own work, his handiwork, but you can destroy this piece if you allow the stumbling blocks in your life.
Romans 14:20-21:”20 for meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak”.
“For meat destroy not the work of God” do not destroy the work of God (meaning us) because of food.
“All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence” you must avoid the stumbling blocks because it can ruin your life even if you are enlightened. You do not know how much these stumbles take away from your asset in life if you do not address them. Here, he is talking about not eating what has been sacrificed to an idol in front of people who stumble because of it and do not realize that all food is pure as long as it is eaten with thanksgiving.
The Word of God is the one that makes you bold in facing circumstances. Measure circumstances up to the Word of God because it has a cure for every situation. Even if you stumble from some servants or from loved ones whom you did not expect to betray you, this becomes easy when you confront it with the Word. Know that the thing you got surprised by is something that you did not expect and were not prepared for.
For example, if you were surprised by an exam tomorrow at your school or university, you will try to study your lessons, and this means that you were not prepared beforehand. You will not be surprised by something you know. If you do not see results in your life, know that the problem is the lack of knowledge. Therefore, you must understand the Word of God regarding the topic you want to see results in.
If you are in the stage of growing spiritually, you must realize that you are still growing in the Word and do not be discouraged if you do not see results yet. Rather, say to yourself: “I am growing spiritually and I will see results at the next stop.” Treat yourself in this way and do not destroy God’s work because of the stumbling blocks. Stumbling does not have to be the result of something negative.
Mark 6:1-3:”6 and he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.2 and when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him”.
You might stumble in Jesus Himself. If you do not appreciate the Word of God, Jesus becomes a problem to you despite the fact that He is supposed to be the solution. You feel that you do not want to pray or study the Word because you have stumbled. There is something that made you fall and you kept on falling without knowing how to get up.
“And they were offended at him” They were offended by Jesus because they dealt with him as an ordinary person. They did not activate their faith and they did not see him in the right image and standard.
If you meditate on this scripture, you will see that Jesus did not do anything negative and despite that they were offended by Him. So sometimes people are offended by you though you did not do anything wrong. They may be offended by your demonstration of the divine nature and the authority you speak by that is different than them. When they say “low”, you say “lift up” Job 22:29:” 29 when men are cast down, then thou shalt say, there is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.
They might think that you are proud, so in this case you have to be bold in clarifying the truth as Jesus was always clear in explaining the biblical truth.
Some people rely on this scripture 1 Corinthians 9:20:” 20 and unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law”. They justify their similarity to those they are preaching to, so they worship in the same way that they do in order to win them and they do not talk about the Lord, and then finally they slip among them and become unable to speak about the Biblical truth. Realize that the measure is not in their happiness, but in realizing the Biblical truth. If the Lord places something on your heart, you must do it.
- How did the Apostle Paul become a Jew to the Jews?
Paul did become like them, but instead he used the correct approach. When Jesus met the two disciples in Emmaus, He said to them in Luke 24:17:” What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” this was the approach He used.
It is wrong to say to a person:” you are not right in your saying”. Jesus spoke to the two disciples in Emmaus gradually, starting from the Book of Genesis until his death and resurrection. He also did not postpone clarifying the truth for many days, but He spoke to them about it at the same moment.
If someone was astonished by you because of your immersion in the Word and in everything that is related to God, do not be ashamed and do not become like them, but rather be frank and clear in what you believe. And then notice that anyone who puts himself in hostility against you will stumble and fall.
You do need to pray to stop their wickedness because they stumbled and fell. When you discover the truth, you live in joy because you are positioned in a position that brings results.
This is the reason why Stephen prayed for those who stoned him so that they would not be destroyed; therefore, you may become a stumbling block for some people when you go against the flow. In this case, the stumbling block is not your fault, and if anyone claims that you caused them to stumble, it is not your problem. The problem is in their hearts, and what you have to do is praying for them.
- Do not make excuses for yourself
1 John 2:7-11:”7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes”.
God wants you to keep moving upward and forward without stumbling. “There is none occasion of stumbling in him”. Sometimes you meet people who cause you to stumble or issues but that does not mean to keep on complaining. Rather, you must get up and keep going forward.
Your problem might be with Biblical doctrine, so you sit and think, “Was there a creation before man or not?!” You stand confused in front of this question, while the answer is in the Word. In this case, you should ask people who study the Word instead of searching on your own, as it is possible that you will not be able to connect the scriptures correctly and it might take years of research. Therefore, enter into the labor of others.
Stop making excuses that have no basis because on the contrary they hinder your spiritual progress. Realize that if you continue to stumble, it will make you immune to the Word and you will not be able to let the Word to enter your life, which poses a great risk to you.
- Some types of the stumbling blocks
- Stumbling in the Word and in the understanding of the biblical truth:
There are those who justify their lack of knowledge of the Word, saying that the Bible is long and no one can understand it, and they treat it as a reading book that they must finish reading it. The Bible is not a reading book, and the matter is not measured by how much you read it, but rather by your awareness of what was written in it. Proverbs 8:8-9:” 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge”.
The Holy Spirit talks to you through the Word of God. Therefore, study the Word very well and be aware of thinking that any unbiblical word or any nonexistent word in the bible is from the Holy Spirit to you. This is a dark tunnel and at the end you will find yourself in a hole from which you cannot get out. The Holy Spirit speaks exactly – like the Word – words that none of them is crooked or preserve, and all of them are clear to the person who understands, that is, the person who humbles himself and opens his heart to the Word in order to understand it.
“Right” it means easy with no ups and downs. Stop making excuses for yourself, such as your level of education and your ability to comprehend. Just put your heart into it and cherish the Word as you cherish Jesus. You must eat the Word if you want to understand how the Spirit of wisdom and revelation works in your life.
Proverbs 14:6:” 6 a scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth”.
“Scorner” is the inner sarcastic. Here, he is talking about the state of the heart. You might have sarcasm towards people or there are some points regarding the doctrine which you cannot understand and therefore you stumble. In this case, when you read the Word, you do not understand anything because you have closed your heart.
God sees the state of this sarcastic heart and resists the proud. Be careful not to be internally arrogant and think that what you hear from the Word is just advisory opinion and so you take it for granted. Certainly, this does not deny the fact that you can examine the doctrine and test it, but it is better to ask questions than to make decisions and judgments on your own.
“Seeketh wisdom” it means he seeks it, but will not find it. He can have a doctorate and a master’s degree in the Bible, but he is unable to comprehend the Word because his heart is sarcastic. He could be a sarcastic regarding some principles, but not the whole Bible, which led to his soul being closed and caused him to stumble.
There are those who build their lives on the stumbling blocks, unaware that one day it will destroy them, but whoever opens his heart to the Word, knowledge becomes easy for him. So keep in mind if you stumble and justify it by saying that the Bible is difficult and the topics are many, realize that the reason for that is your laziness and being internally sarcastic. Because if you are serious about studying the biblical truth and you begin to study God’s mind toward certain topics, you spirit will be launched.
Stumbling in the spiritual care:
Proverbs 18:1-2:” 18 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself”.
The stumbling block makes the person internally annoyed with God and people. In the matter of fact, he wants to achieve his personal desires and gets annoyed when given a sound judgment because he cannot learn or be corrected. He wants to hear the advice from the Holy Spirit and not from people.
He does not know that there is no separation between God, the men of God, and those who speak the Word of God to him. This separation poses a danger on this person for he becomes like a sheep without a pastor. The right spiritual care is of great importance because God is the one who put people in the church to speak His words to you, so be careful before it is too late. There are people who have stumbled, fell and got broken.
“A fool” is the person who does not know. He is the person whom the knowledge was offered to him but he rejected it in his spirit. “The simple” is the naïve person who gets deceived easily.
If you are enslaved to some kind of a sin and you see that it is causing you to stumble, the cure for that is not to remain stumbling, but rather to go and search for the solution. You may have tried, but you are still stumbling, but do not despair. If you are hurt by the stumbling blocks, the solution is not to separate yourself. The one who isolates himself is someone who seeks his desires and thinks that the Lord will reveal things to him in his solitude, based on his prowess. Here, he is deceived because the devil may speak to him and believe that it is the voice of the Holy Spirit.
There are those who make excuses for themselves to remain stumbling and say that they will complain to the Lord when He comes, not knowing that they are ruining their lives because of these unbiblical excuses. They are supposed to reach the stage of not being affected by the stumbling blocks. These excuses will affect them spiritually, and they will find themselves burdened, unable to pray, and confused.
Proverbs 15:12:” 12 a scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise”.
Being sarcastic is a state of the heart. It is not necessary for you to be laughing or being sarcastic in front of others. You may have many opinions and revolts within you against some biblical concepts and principles, but you are ashamed to express them and complain a lot about the difficulty of understanding the Word. All of these are ideas and excuses that Satan has placed in your mind in order for you to stumble.
In this case, you must realize that you are in danger and you must turn quickly to your spiritual guide because you need spiritual care. You might get annoyed about the correction and the sound judgment, but you must soften your heart and crucify your body so that you can rise up and get rid of those excuses and thus stumbling. Learn to deal immediately with anything that hinders you spiritually and do not sit idle.
2 Timothy 2:24-26:” 24 and the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will”.
“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves” means correcting them that oppose themselves with meekness that they may come back to God.
“Who are taken captive by him at his will” in the Greek translation the word “captive” differs from the word “swallow”. There is prey that is easy to catch and the lion does not run to catch it, but rather eats it while he is walking. While there is a prey that is exhausting and that is when the prey is strong, because he needs to run after it to catch it. Like this, there are two groups of believers: a weak group that is easy to swallow and a stronger group that Satan needs to capture and find it difficult to do so because they have life inside of them. Realize that every lack of knowledge of the biblical truth is an opportunity for Satan to take you captive, so be quick to turn to your spiritual leader.
- Stumbling in the spiritual father:
If you stumble in the person who is caring for you spiritually because he is teaching what is opposite to the Word, then you leave him. You have no right to rebuke him Luke 17:3:” 3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him”. Any person who is at your spiritual level and does not teach you the Word, you can then turn the pastor who is higher than him, as the church has a structure.
1 Peter 2:3-8:”3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed”.
“Even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient” the ones who stumble are the ones who disobedient to the Word.
- Stumbling due to too much sarcasm:
Perhaps you are stumbling in a lot of sarcasm and you do not know that this is delaying you spiritually “whereunto also they were appointed”. There are those who chose to be mocking the Word in their heart, disobedient to it and thus standing against God and thus putting themselves in enmity with Him.
Pharaoh had the chance for him and his people to be blessed. This is why God told him in Exodus 5:1:” Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness”. If Pharaoh had listened to the Word of God, he would have been blessed because God said to Abraham in Genesis 12:3:” 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”. Pharaoh rejected and therefore he had placed himself in a state of a curse. It was not God who cursed him and this includes every person who refuses the Word of God continually for he is drinking from the cup of what he caused to himself because by this he is putting himself in enmity with God.
If the believer lives by the laws of the Kingdom of Light, he will see God’s judgment, glory, and hand here on earth and he will not live slavishly, as the believer was not created to be that. Put a barrier between you and the one who offends you, but know that this person has dignity and that he is loved and his price is the price of Jesus. However, do not communicate with him extensively so that you do not stumble and fail spiritually. Your simple communication with him with deep love is sufficient to touch his heart so that he is in a living relationship with God as you are. However, if he was a harmless person but caused you to stumble at some point, then you can communicate with him and the door will be opened for you to preach to him because you were created to demonstrate the greatness and the love of God.
1 Peter 2:9:” 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”.
Matthew 23:1-3:” 23 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not”.
Jesus said to the disciples: Listen to the scribes and the Pharisees despite their bad deeds for they speak the words of Moses. Whoever speaks the words of a person will be put in his position. Because you speak the words of God, you are appointed in his place and you represent him. You must live what the men of God say and not care about their behavior “all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not”. Jesus took into account the presence of the stumbling blocks because inevitably there are those who speak the Word and do not walk in it.
- John the Baptist stumbling in Jesus
Luke 7:18-23:”18 and the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me”.
The Lord said to John the Baptist that the one you will baptize and find the Holy Spirit descending upon him in bodily form like the descent of a dove when it is at rest; the Holy Spirit cannot be incarnated in a dove and cannot be likened to an animal. John the Baptist was the only one, who personally saw the person of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus during baptism, so how can he wonder here? “Are you the one who is coming, or should we wait for another?” John knew very well that he was the Lord Jesus, but he began to stumble in Him, and he was saying to himself:” How can the Lord Jesus go into the ministry and leave me in prison, even though I was the one who paved the way for him?!”.
On the inside, he began to complain saying:” why did He leave me?” if you are asking the same question, stumbling because you think that God has left you and that He needs protests for Him to respond and you begin to ask for prayers from many in order for God to listen to your supplications, then you are wrong.
The matter is not in increasing the number of people praying for you. God responds and moves for you even if you are the only one on earth. Make sure that God does not give you the ability to endure the problem but gives you the solution. He does not make you numb for He came so you would have life and have it in abundance.
“And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” blessed is the one who does not stumble in God for he will be blessed. In order not to stumble in Jesus, you must know Him in through the correct knowledge and not how people see Him as just a carpenter Mark 6:3:” 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him”. Mark 6:4-6:” 4 But Jesus, said unto them, a prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching”.
Because you have not seen the life of Jesus but have only seen it through the Word, then you will not regard Him as a carpenter, the way people did. He is drawn to you through the teaching and if the teaching is unbiblical, Jesus will become so little to you and you will magnify Satan and his lies. You hear about his power and his prowess and so you begin to draw this wrong picture about Jesus until your faith stops because you have stumbled in Him. Therefore, check your heart if you have stumbled in Jesus or not and if you have not, then you will be blessed.
“And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching” For those who were healed, they did not stumble in Him and did not belittle Him or look at Him as a mere carpenter. Therefore, they received a blessing. Speak to yourself and say: “I choose not to stumble in this person. I choose to look to Jesus. He is the solution to my life and I will not stumble in Him. I refuse for my life to be declining and exhausting.” Do not be a person misled in your life by Satan.
- The results of the stumbling block in your life
- You become immune to the Holy Spirit
When you stumble in a verse or a scripture and do not face it, you will not be able to get up spiritually and you will always feel burdened. Proverbs 18:19:” 19 a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle”. A stumbling person is more fortified than a strong city. It is very hard to win or convince him because he puts barriers to himself and fortifies himself against God to a point where he reaches a stage which enables him to hear the voice of God.
Most of the problems of atheism lie in doubting the goodness of God, as their belief is summarized as the following: If God is the one who runs the earth and is silent about evil and destruction, then He is not good. The Word answers all these questions, so do not be internally immune. You must face all these stumbling blocks, otherwise you will become unsteady. You rise and then fall after a very short time and do not understand where you are and where you are heading to.
- You become immune to those who have a relationship with the Holy Spirit
You find yourself attending the meetings only in the flesh and your heart is not in it. You do not interact and you separate yourself from the inside. Proverbs 18:1:” 18 through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom”. You get upset when you receive an advice, unable to hear the Word of God; you make more mistakes and you become easy to break.
Romans 14:20:” 20 for meat destroy not the work of God”. It is possible for the stumbling blocks to ruin the wonderful work of God. It will hinder you from knowing Him. God created ever body to know Him and that is why He said “Woe unto the world because of offences” (Matthew 18:7).
- You become to judge matters with your emotions
You find yourself justifying certain sins while doing it and you worry that somebody else will be condemned because you do not want to reproof it. You judge matters in a false and unbiblical picture looking for solutions that satisfy you even if it were unbiblical because you are walking in your emotions.
Titus 3:10-11:” 10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself”. You must cut your relationship with anyone who causes divisions and cribbing after you have warned him more than once and he did not return from it. Do not be afraid that this person would leave the church or the meeting thinking that it is an embrace fearing of him from the world because his heart in the first place is in the world and he is the one who has put himself in the position of stumbling and deviation.
- It makes you judge based on appearance
You may stumble in matters because you judge it according to your own vision.
Mark 6:1-6:”6 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching”.
Jesus did not do anything to cause others to stumble. He only spoke the truth clearly and bluntly which caused others to stumble in Him. Stumbling blocks lead to stopping your faith. Although the scribes and the Pharisees stumbled in the Lord Jesus, nevertheless He did not hide or lessen his faith. When they brought Him the woman who was caught in the very act, He knew they brought her to tempt Him. But He dealt with the situation with wisdom without hiding His faith to show them that He is fulfilling the law.
God fulfilled the law in this situation but with wisdom. He judged sin as a sin and did not deny that what the woman had done was wrong, but He told them:” He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7).
What happened here was strange because of the Holy Spirit, for when you walk with him through situations, you find an unusual wisdom as it happened with Jesus. He did not justify the sin of the woman, but at the same time, He caused them to stumble and made the situation harder. Like when Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:20:” 20 and unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law” many believers did not understand it correctly which lead them to have the inability of preaching the Gospel in the right way because they did not dare to show their faith and their biblical principles to others being of afraid of causing others to stumble or entering in intense debates and therefore they do not preach in the first place.
John 6:52-61:”52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”
The Lord Jesus did not lessen His teaching or His faith, although they did not understand what He said. He was not afraid of them stumbling. And in this case, the disciples did stumble in His talk, but He was not sorry about it nor spoke in another topic.
When you share what you believe in and feel on the inside that it will cause the hearer to stumble, know that you do not classify people correctly. There are people who do not respond to you and in this case do not blame yourself. A lot of individuals lived in judgment thinking the unresponsiveness of people is their fault and that their teaching is causing others to stumble.
An example of this is when Paul the Apostle presented a terrifying teaching about difficult matters to Governor Felix, and Felix did not accept the words at first. Acts 24:24-27:” 24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound”.
At that time, there were permissible people walking in their lusts and that is the reason behind Paul the Apostle talking to Felix about righteousness, temperance, and judgment. Felix was terrified by this teaching, but that does not mean that Paul was wrong and being the reason behind losing a soul. The problem was in Felix, for he had put himself in a position of rejection and stuck to his ways and principles, not Paul. Be aware of this while presenting the biblical truth to others. There will be who will stumble in it, but keep explaining as Jesus did.
1 Corinthians 9:19-22:”19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some”.
Paul the Apostle means that in order for no one to hinder his pride and not cause hindrance to others, he entered through the common entrance between himself, the Jews, and the Gentiles. This church was plundered by preachers before the coming of Paul, who were false prophets. Therefore, he wanted to make a difference between him and them. He said, although I have the right to take offerings and gifts from you, I refused to do so, abandoning this authority.
What Paul meant here was to come down to the level of thinking of others, as the Church of Corinth at that time was suffering from many problems. Of course, he did not abandon his identity and become a Jew with the Jew or a Gentile with the Gentile by worshiping like them and becoming like one of them. Of course, he did not do that.
When he entered Athens and found them worshiping an unknown god, he did not worship with them but used that as an entrance to tell them that Jesus is this unknown God. When you also talk to someone about Jesus, come down to his level of thinking and present Jesus to him in a way he could understand, but do not be like him or change the truth of your faith and your biblical principles for fear of offending him.
- It makes you ineffective in your spiritual life
- It hinders you from tasting the supernatural in your life
Mark 6:5:” 5 and he could there do no mighty work” the mighty work is here is the supernatural. Stumbling blocks make you deal with situations with cynicism and mockery.
- The source of the stumbling blocks and things that hinder you spiritually
- Stumbling in the magnificent things
The bible may cause you to stumble if there are no answers to the questions you have in mind or you might stumble in verses which seems contradictory. Also, it is possible for you to sit with people who question the Bible and so you live thinking about it without facing it by asking the individuals who are older than you spiritually and therefore this matter becomes a stumbling block to you.
Romans 9:30-33:” 30 what shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.32 wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed”.
Although the Gentiles have not thought before about righteousness, yet they accepted it after hearing about it. But God’s people, the chosen ones, did not realize righteousness because of their dependence on the law and not on their faith in Jesus Christ. As a result, they stumbled in Jesus and their refusal to Him hindered them to accept righteousness.
1 Corinthians 1:23:” 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness”. Jesus was a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles. The Jews did not think that Jesus would come in this picture and the Gentiles could not accept mentally that Jesus would be born of a virgin. This shows that you may stumble in magnificent things not only the negatives.
Some people stumble in the subject of the judgment of God (the judgment day) and some sarcastic contradicting people call it “the divine BBQ” meaning that God will throw people into hell and roast them. They do not know that this matter is not measured by the evil works of people or their good deeds; it lies in the spiritual nature that they hold.
A scientist, who has benefited humanity, might go to hell if he is not born again and did not accept Jesus. You might see it as unjust, but it is not so. This person still has the old fallen nature under the rule of Satan. While you measure the matter to his works, God measures it according to the spiritual nature of the person and not according to his deeds. And certainly man is the one who chose the nature of Satan and refused the nature of God.
1 Peter 2:4-5:” 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”. This is the job description of the believer. You are not an independent stone, but rather a living stone in a spiritual house. When Satan sees an independent and lonely believer outside his spiritual house, he exploits him and uses him in evil doings. If you are not inside the spiritual house and integrated into a body, you will go astray and find yourself like locusts moving from one church to another, not understanding how your life is going, and not knowing that the problem is in you as you do not open your heart. As a believer, you are supposed to offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, but it is difficult to do that if you are stumbling.
1 Peter 2:6-8:” 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed”. You have become a precious stone with dignity, and the Lord Jesus is a stone in this house, but He is the cornerstone on which everything is weighed.
One of the most malicious things that Satan can do is to put unanswered questions in your mind in order to cause you to stumble. Therefore, it is very important to find answers to your questions.
- Stumbling in the negative things
Do not avoid the spiritual growth scared of facing Satan because you might have seen what Satan had done with the ones who preceded you. You are picturing a negative picture for and about yourself seeing that you are not spiritually ignited.
Matthew 23:1-12:”23 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”. You need to separate between the teaching and the servant. Jesus told the multitude and His disciples:” All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” and that is because of their unsatisfactory behaviors and actions. If a servant offended you, you must separate between his behavior and the teaching he presents to you. If you witness something disgraceful, you can either turn it into a stumbling stone or not, it is up to you to decide.
- Causing others to stumble
Psalm 27:1-2:” 27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell”. There are those who do you wrong unintentionally because they misunderstood you. Therefore, they deal with you in an inappropriate way, whether they are believers and repent or unbelievers. Now, if a person puts himself in a position of enmity with you because you are the smell of Christ, this smell is pleasant to some and unpleasant to others, and if you know the Word, you will sit reassured and find protection without any effort made. Automatically, when they try to come near you or harm you, you will be the cause for them to stumble and that is not something negative. But to pray for revenge, this is not biblical. Whoever is hostile to you is the one who places himself at enmity with you. You have no enemies on your part. As long as you walk correctly, they will automatically stumble and fall and you will not need to pray for this stumbling block.
- The way in dealing with stumbling blocks
- Confronting and dealing with the matters that cause people to stumble
- Overcoming the negative stumbling blocks
- Knowing the answers to your questions from the Word of God
- Ask the person who is caring for you spiritually
The types of stumbling blocks you may cause to others
John 6:26-31:” 26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat”. Not everyone who asks wants to learn.
Romans 14:19-23” 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.22 Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.23 and he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin”.
Paul the Apostle is addressing a segment of the believers saying that if a person sees you sitting in a place where there is an idol, this might harden the heart of the person. Therefore, abstain from eating what was sacrificed to idols, so that you brother won’t stumble. Also, abstain from talking about major biblical matters which the other person does not understand. But this does not mean to worship in the same way he does, because if the difference between you and him does not show, then you will not be able to have a conversation with him about Jesus. Here, Paul is talking about doing this with all your faith and after you convince him from the Word, be wise and do not leave him as he is and do not scold him, criticize him, or mock him, but rather walk with him gradually.
Enter this doorway and then gradually convince him from the Word until he is converted. Do not do it by force because this is considered a sin and do not resemble him in order to convince him.
- How do you protect yourself from stumbling?
- Stand steadfast in the Word of God because stumbling is the result of being irresolute in the Word.
1 John 2:5-10:” 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him”.
- Submit to the ecclesiastical order that God has put (accept correction) and be in a body of Christ
Hebrews 12:9-13:” 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed”.
- Take care of yourself. Always be careful of things that might cause you to stumble, and deliberately direct your heart to ensure that nothing makes you burdensome in your relationship with the Lord.
- Refrain from what may cause you to stumble whether individuals or things.
- Do not be a person who is eligible to stumble.
- Do not make excuses for yourself and be lazy in order not to give Satan a place in your life.
Written, collected & prepared by Life Changing Truth Ministry and all rights reserved to Life Changing Truth. Life Changing Truth ministry has the FULL right to publish & use these materials. Any quotations are forbidden without permission according to the Permission Rights prescribed by our ministry.