Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” This demanding and astounding statement is found several times in Scripture.

Humility comes near the very top of qualities which God desires of His people. This becomes very apparent in the way Jesus talked about pride, greatness, and humility. When the disciples asked who was greatest among them, they were revealing their prideful and sinful hearts.

Jesus set at a little child in their middt to show  them humility. It must have been astounding to hear Jesus say they had to become like little children to enter the kingdom of God.

Jesus continued the theme of humility by encouraging them to take seriously their temptation toward sin. He spoke of the consequences of causing others to stumble. Jesus wants his followers to be stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks.

Jesus took sin so seriously that He told them to deal with their temptation in radical ways.

If they were amazed and Astounded at Jesus putting a little child as an example of the kingdom of God, how totally upset they must have been to hear that they should cut off their hands and pluck out their eyes!

Of coarse, Jesus did not mean this in a literal sense. This is a figurative expression which shows how awful sin is and how seriously it must be taken.

How do I know this is not literal? Here are three good reasons for understanding this as a figurative expression about the seriousness of temptation and sin.

First, bodily  mutilation was prohibited in the Old Testament. They would recognized the figurative nature of what Jesus was saying.

Second, none of the disciples ever cut off their hands or plucked out their eyes. They had as much temptation as any of us. Yet, as they dealt with their struggle with sin they did so in the way Jesus intended and not by bodily mutilation.

Third, temptation and sin is more of a mental issue than physical. Sin begins in the heart (mind). Only when we deal with the heart can we really deal with our sin problem. What good does it do to cut off The thieving hand or the lustfull eye when the real problem is in the heart and mind?

What difficulty we face because of our pride and rebellion!

We can only solve our problem as we humbly submit our lives to Christ as little children.

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4 Comments


  1. Scott Hymel
    Aug 14, 2018

    Learn to submit as little children; seems so easy yet so difficult. How sly and cunning was Satan when he tempted Adam and Eve with the prospect of becoming mature and grown up so they could allegedly know everything.


    • Waylon
      Aug 15, 2018

      Exactly. It’s the kind of thing Satan always attempts


  2. Glenn Walls
    Aug 14, 2018

    My thoughts as I was reading through Numbers this week truly lines up with this blog.

    “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
    ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭22:4‬ ‭NIV‬

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    “And they have conquered him(Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
    ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    Revelation 12:11 is the the ultimate definition of humility in my opinion.

    humility:
    the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc…

    Being humble is a Godly quality that we all must have.


    • Waylon
      Aug 15, 2018

      Thanks, Glenn. It is amazing at how God looks at humility

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

[Thanksgiving] I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— — 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 (NIV)