Mark 9 Lesson

Removing Stumbling Blocks From Our Lives

Today's lesson is about removing the stumbling blocks from our lives that Satan uses to tempt us.    

Jesus said:

  • “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell.” – Mark 9:43.  

Jesus is telling us to remove the things from our lives that cause us to stumble.  In Mark 9:43-48, He provides three dramatic examples:    

  1. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off,
  2. If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off,
  3. If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out.

So what is it that you struggle with?  For most of us, the things which cause us to stumble are things we are tempted by every day.  

EXAMPLES OF STUMBLING BLOCKS

For example, we may be tempted by alcohol.  Or we may have a problem with pornography.  Or like many, we may be consumed by the love of money.  

Satan is a powerful adversary.  He knows our weaknesses and will do his best to exploit them.   The message of the Bible is clear, whatever is causing us to stumble needs to be removed from our lives so we can be right with God.  It is not worth forfeiting our eternal souls to satisfy a temporary desire (Mark 8:36).

REMOVING STUMBLING BLOCKS FROM OUR LIVES

Successfully removing the stumbling blocks from our lives requires an honest assessment of what those stumbling blocks are.  We need to recognize the behaviors and situations that put us at risk and be strong enough to eliminate them.   To do that, we need to develop a plan.  This will require a change in mindset, as Paul discussed in his letter to the Colossians.

  • “Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth.” – Colossians 3:2.

REMOVING STUMBLING BLOCKS LEADS TO BLESSINGS

When we successfully remove stumbling blocks from our lives, we will have more time to serve others and to glorify God!  Instead of focusing on ourselves, we will find ourselves focusing on others, thinking about positive things, and being at peace.  Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians:  

  • “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8.

When we take something that was a problem in our lives and replace it with something that God wants us to be doing, we will be blessed! Taking that one step further, if we replace the time that we spent trying to please ourselves, and invest it in learning about God, or helping our neighbor, we are really going to develop spiritually!

God has a plan for each of us.   Jeremiah 29:11 reads:

  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

However, God’s plan cannot work unless we follow it!   One of the things we need to do is to identify the current stumbling blocks in our lives.  After all, how can we remove them if we do not understand what they are?

Once we have identified them, the next step is to put together a plan to eliminate them.   If we do not feel that our plan is going to work, we need to pray about it and consider reaching out to a more experienced Brother or Sister for advice and encouragement.  

We all have stumbling blocks in our lives that cause us to sin.   Stumbling blocks are a powerful tool of the Devil!  As we age, the stumbling blocks may change, but they do not go away.   The only way for us to truly get Satan to flee from us is to resist the temptations that he throws our way.

  • “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7.  

As we remove the stumbling blocks from our lives, we will begin to feel a newfound peace. This feeling of peace is the Holy Spirit working in us.  As we make good decisions, we will draw closer to God and Jesus, and we will further separate ourselves from Satan’s attacks.  This is what the Bible refers to as, “The peace that surpasses all understanding.” Philippians 4:7.

GETTING STARTED

If we are honest, there are multiple stumbling blocks that need to be removed from our lives at any given time.  So where to start?  A good idea is to set some goals.   Prioritizing those stumbling blocks that are most destructive and working to remove them is a great place to start! 

SETTING GOALS

  1. Decide. Choose the first stumbling block that you want to remove from your life.
  2. Write it down.  Writing down our goals adds accountability and forces us to clearly identify what our goals are.
  3. Tell someone. Telling someone about our goal increases the chances that we will be successful.
  4. Break your goal down.  We do not have to accomplish our goals all at once.  Often, breaking big goals into several small goals increases our chances of being successful.
  5. Plan your first step.  “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – a Chinese proverb.
  6. Keep going!  Satan will no doubt try to stop our efforts.  We must persevere and keep our eye on the prize!
  7. Pray!  With God’s help, anything is possible.  Be sure to pray early and often!

CONCLUSION

Wherever we are in our relationship with God, it is always beneficial to examine ourselves and look for stumbling blocks that need to be removed.  Replacing the time that we formerly spent sinning with activities that glorify God leads to “ The peace that surpasses all understanding.” – Philippians 4:7.   

We will end today's lessons with the following words spoken by Jesus as recorded in Mark’s Gospel.   

Comments

Dan Wheeler

Certainly, we have options when we have a troubling experience. Praying to the Father invokes His Divine help; also we need to take action just as the scripture admonishes us to do .

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Tommy

Jesus loved and was protective of children. Another example of His warmth and compassion. Thank you Jesus for being the perfect example for us to follow.

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