New Testament passage for Monday, April 14, 2014: Luke 16:19-17:10
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! Luke 17:1 (NKJV)
There is an unrealistic view of life that can float among Christians. I think it has its origins in idealistic promises made about the Christian life. We tell someone, "Come to Jesus and He will solve all your problems; you will have nothing but love, joy, and peace forever." While this is certainly God's ultimate will, the practical truth is that for now life continues to be filled with challenges and difficulties.
Jesus said it this way, "It is impossible that no offenses should come" (Luke 17:1). That's the "King James-y" way of saying, "Bad things still happen." It is inevitable that stumbling blocks will clutter our path. The word for "offenses" in the Greek New Testament is skandalon, which refers to the bait stick that holds up a box trap. Life is filled with traps to ensnare us. It can be as simple as distraction or as serious as destruction.
Every follower of Jesus must learn how to handle traps, trials, and hurdles. They are coming! It's part of the path. Jesus never promises absence or avoidance of difficulty; He promises power and presence IN the difficulty. While conflict and challenge may be uncomfortable, they are prerequisite for proven character (see Romans 5:3).
So, what traps surround you now? What road-blocks seek to derail you? What hurdles seem too high to overcome? Jesus knows that in a fallen world, the path to eternal life is littered with pitfalls. He makes His power available to us so that we can run the race well. That's not a false promise; it is a real one. The hurdles are not there to stop you. They are your next step toward ultimate victory.