“Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a milestone tied to his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So, watch yourselves.”
The Lord’s haunting words, “…so watch yourselves,” cannot be missed! We stand individually responsible for the impact we make on others. As Christians, our examples are either viewed by God as positive or negative. Every day we are building a heavenly reputation for either gathering or scattering. The result of those actions will become abundantly clear with the passing of time.
In today’s reading, when the Lord says, “little ones” this could easily be a literal reference to children. However, the broader meaning of His words should most likely include young believers. New Christians are much like little children who are still highly vulnerable. For them, potential spiritual dangers can take many forms and they often arrive when least expected. This is especially true soon after one’s spiritual re-birth experience. In spite of their newfound joy, they remain Biblically immature, so they can easily be misled by a poor example.
As a Christian – watch yourself because new believers, admiring friends, and your own family members will be watching you. Focus on this gentle reminder because the many acquaintances around you will also be impressionable. Your witness begins with what people see, hear, and feel when they are with you. Stop to ask yourself, “How could I most effectively improve my personal witness?”
Meditate for a few minutes on the Lord’s uplifting words about the needed influence of our example, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Living as a Christian ambassador requires Christ centered values and attributes. This is why we are instructed to, “…set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and purity… Be diligent in these matters and give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” (1Timothy 4:12b and 15)
To make our influence felt, our verbal witness must be accompanied by a consistent daily walk. This lifestyle includes having a positive attitude and a winsome spirit. This will help open more doors for our testimony than a great reservoir of knowledge and experience. With that awareness, pause to prayerfully dedicate this week’s service to the Lord.
Decide now to let your words, deeds, and attitudes work together to demonstrate your faith. Stop to consider how your example is currently affecting those around you. Is it lifting people up or inflicting spiritual damage? Purpose – in your heart to avoid negativism, or careless comments or actions that would cause another person to stumble because of your example.
By Billie Hanks Jr.