Have you ever been reading the Bible and thought, “How in the world can I relate to this parable/story/verse?” Or has anybody ever said, “The Bible was written a long time ago and the things in that book don’t apply to our world today.” As most of you already know, these statements couldn’t be more wrong. There was so much great stuff in these three chapters that it took me a while to narrow my focus for the blog. So let’s get started… How do these stories we read actually apply to our daily lives?
Jesus warns against temptation (Matthew 18:7-9)
It’s inevitable. We all face temptations of many kinds. The real question is, how do we handle those temptations? When you read this story it seems pretty intense. I mean, Jesus is telling us to cut off our arm or gouge out our eye if those things tempt us to sin?? Woah buddy! Now, of course, he doesn’t mean that in a literal sense. What he means is that we, as believers, need to do whatever is necessary to remove those stumbling blocks that cause us to sin. Maybe for some of you, that means you need to end a relationship that is bringing you down spiritually. Maybe it means that you have to change your social crowd because they bring to too close to sin. Maybe you need to get rid of social networking sites that cause you to gossip. You may have to have some pretty serious talks with yourself and with others. Will it be tough? Yes. But will it be worth it? Of course! Think of the long term affects of these things. By removing those stumbling blocks, what does your future relationship with God look like?
Jesus teaches how to treat a believer who sins (Matthew 18:15-20)
We are human, and disagreements are bound to come up in our lives. How do you handle disagreements? I remember getting in arguments with friends in high school. I never went straight to that friend to try and work it out. First, I told other friends about it. It turned into gossip. I brought people into a situation that had nothing to do with them. I know that when we are frustrated or angry with someone it is so easy to run to our other friends and “talk trash” on that person. When disagreements happen (and they will) bring it straight to the source. No only will this affect your relationship with God, but with others too!
Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving debtor (Matthew 18:21-35)
Forgiveness is tough. Especially when someone has really wronged you. But think on this… How many times has Jesus forgiven you? Too many times to count, right? Even crazier… Jesus knew that you would sin and he still went to the cross and died for you! Now that is forgiveness at its finest! I mean seriously, what positives come out of holding a grudge anyway? None. Shine Christ’s light and forgive those who are truly repenting of the wrongs they have done!
Jesus speaks to the rich young man (Matthew 19:16-30)
We live in a world that is obsessed with wanting more. More money, better technology, bigger house, nicer car. What people have is never enough to satisfy them. The more you have the more you want. Jesus is not telling us that it is bad to have a nice house or good paying job. What he is warning us of is our dependence on such things. Let’s look at this from a perspective we can all relate to. Our cell phones. It is not a bad thing that we all have cell phones. But I want you to think about how much you rely and depend on that little piece of technology. How hard would it be to go without your cell phone for an entire day? That means no Facebook, Instagram, or Snap Chat too. Now think about this… How hard would it be to go without thinking of Jesus (whether through our prayer life, Bible, or actions) for an entire day? I am almost positive that many of us would say it would be a lot harder to go without our phones. Where do your priorities lie? In material things or in Jesus? Things aren’t bad. Our dependence of things is what causes us to stray from Jesus’ purpose for our lives. Remember, HE always provides!