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Session 18

Experience is a teacher, but not always the best teacher

Read: Matthew 18

As children, we all had to learn what hurts so we can keep ourselves safe. Sometimes, we listened to mom's warnings to stay away from the stove or keep our fingers out of the electrical sockets. Other times, we learned the hard way — ignoring our parents' advice and letting injury be our teacher.

In Matthew 18, Jesus teaches about how valuable each one of us is to Him. Jesus wants every one of us to grow closer to Him every day. While rough things will happen along the way that challenge us or maybe even cause us to fall short of the life Jesus wants for us, we are warned to avoid being the cause of these “stumbles” for ourselves or for other people.  

 Jesus wants every one of us to grow closer to Him every day.

When we make willful decisions to do things that are in conflict with what Jesus wants for us, we hurt ourselves and others. That's why Jesus tells us we are to do whatever it takes to avoid putting ourselves in a situation where we're tempted to sin. Just like an outlet cover kept us from electrocuting ourselves as kids, creating boundaries in our adult lives can help us break the temptation to sin. We don't have to take Jesus' call to cut off our hands literally. Instead, if we find our hands reaching for things which result in us committing a sin, we need to change what's in our grasp. If our feet take us to places where we easily give into sinful temptation, we need to change where we're going. If our eyes look at things which stir up sinful thoughts which lead to sinful actions, we need to change where we're looking.  

Experience is an effective teacher, but so is Jesus' instruction. When it comes to making our way through life, we can learn by hurt or we can let Jesus help by showing us what to stay away from.  

Reflect:

  • What parts of your life put you at the greatest risk for repeated sin and falling short of the life Jesus wants for you?
  • What do you need to change today to obey Jesus and stop putting yourself in danger?

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