Stepping Stones and Stumbling Stones

Closeup of message stones on white background.


While walking along a stony trail, I realize I have a choice as to how I perceive these pebbles on my path. They can be either stepping stones or stumbling stones. They become stepping stones if they fill in rough ruts and help me to be surefooted as I walk down life’s pathway. These stones are stumbling stones if they cause me to fall and skin my knees while I am running the route of life. In scripture, I learn that all of us have the option of being stepping stones or stumbling stones spiritually.

I begin by looking at a couple of Old Testament scriptures. David declares in Psalm 18:2, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” The Lord is not just a little stone; He is a rock! He is a stronger spiritual stone than any mineral matter found on earth. Isaiah 28:16 says, “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.’” Isaiah describes Jesus as a rock with a purpose. He is the cornerstone of the spiritual temple the Lord is building. I want to be sure that my faith walk is covered with stepping stones leading me to the Cornerstone.

Peter tells how I am given the choice of experiencing Jesus as a stepping stone or a stumbling stone. I Peter 2:4 says, “You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.” I can accept Christ as the stone who leads me on the path to eternal life or I can stumble over the reality of Jesus being the saving stone. I Peter 2:8 says, “‘He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.”

I Peter 2:5 says, “And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.” When I trust Jesus to be the Living Stone, I become a living stone. The stones under my feet are inanimate objects but I am created to be a living and active stone that makes a difference in the lives of others. I am either a stepping stone or a stumbling stone as people watch me journey down my lane of life.

Not only is my life a stepping or stumbling stone to others, but I also have the choice of allowing my circumstances to be stepping stones or stumbling stones. II Corinthians 5:7 tells believers,we walk by faith, not by sight.” When I cannot see where my faith is taking me, I may stumble over difficult circumstances. If my life is to be a stepping stone rather than stumbling stone, I need to remember Romans 8:28 that says, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I want to allow my circumstances to help me maneuver over the rocky times of life so that I will not fall.

My Reader, what kind of stones are you walking upon as you journey through life today? Are the stones smooth or rough? Are you skipping along a path of joy with little pebbles under your feet or are you encountering boulders that block further progress? No matter what the stones feel like, allow them to become a pathway to the Lord. James 4:8 NLT gives the invitation, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” This is true for wherever your journey takes you. In fact, I sometimes find that it is easier to stay close to the Lord and hear from Him when things are rockier that when they are going smoothly. I can get caught up in the excitement of the moment and lose sight of the Lord. In conclusion, I encourage you to turn your stumbling stone situations into stepping stones.

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