It fascinates me how different my children are. Oh, they have their similarities. They both are intensely high energy, sweet, and out-going. Maybe I’m a little bias, but I also think they are just so cute! For all their similarities, their differences are striking. The one fundamental difference I recently noticed is how they respond to correction. Both my children are intense and vocal in their desire. Yet my son, if sternly corrected, immediately stops. He responds quickly to correction. Now my daughter…the spirited child that she is…chooses not to stop but to challenge your reasoning for asking her to stop. Have you ever argued with a 4 year old? Its a pointless, exhausting endeavor! Yet she picks a fight with every disobedient step she takes.
My daughter comes by this trait honestly. My mother just laughed as I lamented this parental struggle. Apparently, her daddy did the same! Okay, okay, I admit it. I struggle with authority. As a child and teen, I fought my parents at practically every turn. I always wanted to know “why!” Why did I need to stop! Why did I need to quit smacking my sister! She started it! Why should I where pants! (okay, I’m glad for all of us that they won that battle!) When me and my siblings were in trouble, I always received the stronger of punishments. Looking back, the reason was obvious…I never stopped fighting. I brought it on myself. My struggle with authority was a major stumbling block to learning correction…and a major stumbling block to peace in our house.
We all have these hang-ups, these stumbling blocks in our lives. Maybe yours are not as obvious or obnoxious (there, I admit it!) as mine. Yet, whatever these stumbling blocks are, they cause us to miss the main point or purpose and often derail us from along life’s journey. Additionally, these same types of stumbling blocks cause confusion and doubt in our faith. They become tangents or unresolved “rabbit trails” in sharing our faith. We get caught trying to answer questions that we either don’t know the answer too or sadly lead us away from actually sharing Jesus.
How do we overcome or smooth out these stumbling blocks? Our new series, STUMBLING BLOCKS, reveals the simple yet profound answer. Our faith and life is not to be built upon well reasoned arguments or even historic statements of faith. Its all about Jesus! Paul shares in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 how he purposefully ignored sharing anything but Jesus at the beginning of his ministry to the Corinthians. We begin overcoming stumbling blocks by focusing on Jesus.
Over and over again Jesus is referenced as the cornerstone. (Matthew 21, Acts 4, Eph 2) Old Testament prophecies refer to God placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem. A cornerstone is the first and most important stone for any building. The cornerstone is first perfected with the correct angles then laid. All other stones are placed in alignment with the cornerstone, ensuring a straight and stable building. Jesus as the cornerstone means everything we are, believe, do, etc must align with Jesus. The answer to every life and faith question ultimately gets answer with “because Jesus.”
We strive for alignment with Jesus. Stumbling occurs when we are out of alignment. If you’ve ever driven a car “out of alignment”, you know the problems that ensue. The car pulls to the left or right. Tires and brakes wear faster and unevenly. Try to brake suddenly, and you can dangerously veer out of control. So it is when we are out of alignment with Jesus. Temptations constantly pull us. We grow weary, tired, and even frustrated with faith and church things. And when confronted with an obvious obstacle, trying to stop becomes that much harder and more dangerous. Alignment is essential!
What causes you to stumble or fall? What questions or struggles wear you down? The answer really is Jesus. As we move through this series, we’ll look at how Jesus answers some of our most pressing questions. Alignment won’t mean life is easy or always fun, but aligning everything by Jesus will mean we never stumble or fall. May we all draw close to the cornerstone and be shaped in alignment with Jesus!