Sunday, October 12, 2008

Matthew 18:6-9 "The Warning"

Read Matthew 18:6-9.

"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin!" NIV

The graphic nature of Jesus' words immediately convey the gravity of these sins. Not that any sin is not grave, but the punishments and the recommendations to prevent such sins borders on the extreme. He definitely wanted us to know that this is something He will not tolerate.

So are we taking these warnings seriously? As a society I believe our children have been hung out to dry. We have not upheld a moral or ethical standard for them to follow. As a parent, I feel I am constantly rowing upstream against public opinions that would pollute my child's thinking.

On a personal level, living a life holy and pleasing to God is not just out of love for Him and a desire to spend eternity with Him. I am held responsible for the people I influence, as well. If there is any sin in my life that leads someone else to sin, I am condemned. As a preacher's kid and then as a pastor's wife, I definitely know what it is like to live in a fishbowl. But I'm still always surprised by how many are watching.

But you don't have to be in leadership to be an example. If you are living an honest, open Christian walk, people are going to be watching you. And they will eventually know if there is sin in your life. If you lead them down that path with you, you will be held accountable. That is a heavy responsibility we all must take seriously. That is why Jesus says to eradicate the opposing offender. Now He is not literally meaning to mutilate your body, but emphasizing the seriousness of capturing our weaknesses and killing their influence in our life.

Losing the lusts of our desires is nothing compared to losing eternity with God. Our life is not for satisfying every whim and notion we selfishly possess. Luke 10:27 says that we are to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" No where in that passage am I to love myself first or even second. My comforts and desires are a tertiary point. And if I am loving God with my entire being - heart, soul, mind and strength, then my first inclination will be to see others as God sees them and extend my love to them. If these steps are all in line, I will not lead someone to sin but only to God.

Oh Father, help me to first focus on loving You and then out of that love, to love others. I again today die to self and the lusts that pull me toward the destruction of sin. Guide my heart; keep me for You alone.

Further Thoughts:
  1. What temptation to sin do you constantly battle in your life? If you succumb, how could it affect those around you -- your family, friends, co-workers. Contemplate the gravity of your actions and ask the Lord to eradicate that desire from your life. So many people depend on your obedience.
  2. Who are the people watching you? Are you living a life that they can follow? Do you reflect Christ not only in your words, but in your heart and actions? If not, why?
  3. We cannot be a perfect example; only Christ is. But if we are living humbly before our Lord, we can be a light in a dark world. Shine.

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