WHAT CAUSES YOU TO STUMBLE AND FALL?
Throughout the Scripture we are continually warned about the possibility of stumbling and falling. Jesus warned His own disciples just before His crucifixion that they would all stumble that night (Matt. 26:31). The most important thing is to determine why you stumble so you can address that issue in your life and thus keep from falling back into your addictive behavior.
I. Why should you ask the question – Why do I fall?
A. Whenever there is failure you must always ask the “Why” question so you can determine a resolution to the problem. Samuel asked the king, “Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?” (1 Sam. 15:19).
B. Jesus asked this same question of the disciples when they failed. Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matt. 14:31). After the resurrection Jesus asked: “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (Luke 24:38).
C. Therefore, answering the why question is imperative if you want long term success in your walk. The Scripture declares that the only people who don’t know why they stumble are those who don’t know God. David explained this truth when he taught: “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble” (Prov. 4:19).
II. The primary cause of all stumbling is in you.
A. When you stumble it will always be a result of your disobedience to the Word of God. This is one of the simplest causes of stumbling. Peter said that people, “stumble being disobedient to the word” (1 Peter 2:8). Therefore, whenever you disobey God’s Word you are setting yourself up for a fall.
* A person stumbles and falls simply by failing to obey what I have taught you in each of the previous studies. Think back through each of the studies. Here are the reasons a person would fall.
1. You have failed to see the true causes of your emptiness.
2. You have not been born again.
3. You have failed to cultivate your fellowship with God.
4. You have not understood how participation in the body helps you to stand strong.
5. You have not understood how God changes you.
6. You have not understood or fully repented of your addiction.
7. You are not depending on the power of the Spirit.
8. You have not understood what the real heart issues regarding your addiction.
9. You are feeling oriented and not commandment oriented.
10. You don’t understand how your habits affect you.
11. You haven’t addressed the idol in your life.
12. You are too concerned about what people think about you.
13. You are still ruled by your anger.
14. Guilt still controls you.
15. Depression still controls you.
16. You are still depending on yourself and not hoping in the Lord.
17. You are still attempting to be the lone ranger and you are refusing to let others help you.
18. You don’t understand how to handle the trials and struggles in life.
19. You are still looking for some other way than complete surrender to Christ.
20. You don’t recognize that God’s sovereignty and ownership of your life.
21. Your flesh still controls you.
22. You are still allowing the lure of this world in your heart and mind.
23. You don’t understand how to battle the spiritual warfare in your life.
24. You are stumbling yourself or allowing others to stumble you. It simply means that you are just not following the wisdom God has given. If you hear God’s wisdom He promises that you won’t stumble. Solomon taught his son: “Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble” (Prov. 4:10-12).
B. Fundamental to all of these stumbling stones is a basic failure to allow the Word of God to be planted in your heart. This failure keeps you from maturing in the Lord, which guarantees that you will stumble and fall. Jesus warned the disciples in the Parable of the Sower: “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." (Matt. 13:20-23). Note the promise of God on this issue: David declared: “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Ps. 119:165).
III. Sometimes other people stumble you.
A.) David prayed: “Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men, who have purposed to make my steps stumble” (Ps. 140:4). This passage makes it clear that David knew there were people who had purposed in their hearts to try and make him stumble. Why would anyone purposely want another person to stumble? Because they simply don’t want you to have victory where they do not. In other words, misery loves company. However, Jesus has a very serious warning to those who purpose to stumble others. Jesus warned: “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).
B.) Therefore, you must identify those bad relationships that cause you to stumble. How?
1. Does that person consider his or her own behavior and how it affects you? Paul taught, “Beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak” (1 Cor. 8:9). Paul also taught: “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (Rom. 14:21).
2. When a person doesn't care if you are stumbled by their behavior it means they don’t love you. Paul explained this truth when he taught: “If your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love” (Rom. 14:15). Love for others causes us to restrain our behavior so we won’t offend others. If someone doesn't truly love you then you don’t want to be around them.
C.) Therefore, you must identify those good relationships that will edify you.
1. Paul encouraged all believers to, “Let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Rom. 14:19).
2. The question is, are you pursuing ways to edify others and are others looking for ways that they may edify and build you up? This is what it means to walk in love.
3. When you find a person that is constantly trying to build you up this is a person you want to be around as much as possible.