Jesus Came to Fulfill: Part II

[Jesus said,]“You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.

Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.”      Matthew 5:27-30 (The Message)

Just in case I am unsure of the truth of this passage, this translation will fill in the gaps! It would be easy for me to say that lust is not a temptation for me and so cut this part of the Bible out because it does not pertain to me. I would be wrong and even a fool.

Paul states that ALL have sinned and are found wanting when next to the glory that is God (Romans 3:23). We all have weaknesses that allow temptation to slip in like slime that slides under a well-sealed door. Temptation can be rejected. We are not without avenues to escape it (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). However, it is wisdom for us to avoid temptation. Identify honestly the things that are a ‘hook’ – and run the other way. That isn’t being a coward. That is being smart!

I know a man who was addicted to drugs and alcohol as a teen. He gave his life to Jesus. He moved hundreds of miles away from his home. He moved to a place where he was not familiar with ways to connect with drug dealers. He avoided the easy temptations. He made a direction change.

I know a woman who never thought of herself as a drinker but when difficulties came into her life, she found herself drinking alcohol almost every day. When she began hiding it, she tried to tell herself that she was just trying not to influence her children. God began to speak to her. He told her quietly but firmly never to drink again. She decided based on her experience with God who had walked her through and never let her down – to believe Him. She has not had a drink of alcohol since. She made a direction change.

To make a direction change may be better known as repentance. Jesus said that we are to repent because His Kingdom is near (Matthew 4:17). He said it present tense. Now. Jesus is the Kingdom. It is time now to make a change, my friends. Let us allow God’s Spirit to ‘scan’ our lives and identify those areas of weakness where we are vulnerable. Let us make a turn and move away from places and persons who try to pull us toward temptation. Let us choose to be around people who build us up and encourage us closer to Jesus. And, yes, that means we will choose not to be around those who make us more comfortable in our old habits. Jesus tells us to amputate what causes us to sin. Those are harsh words. Sin is a harsh reality. As Joshua said, “Choose you this day who you will serve…as for me and my family— we are serving God” (Joshua 24:15).

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