What! Pluck Out Your Eye?

big eyes, tarsier

Matthew 5:27-30, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

Did Jesus really mean for us to gouge out our eye? Marco Polo writes of one who did just that. The man was a shoemaker and struggled with thoughts of lust after seeing a young woman’s ankle (he goes on to tell a story of the man praying for a mountain to move, but that’s a story for another time). I’ve read of another man who plucked out his eye, only to be dismayed that he could still lust.

Jesus is making the point that your eternal salvation is extremely valuable. He is telling us to do whatever it takes to secure your future. Jesus is radical sometimes and if we need to get radical to follow him, so bit it. Sometimes we need to get radical to fight our sin. This often is the case with porn. If we need to download a program to block it such as Content Protect, then we do it. If we need to set up an accountability partner to check our web browsing, like X3 by XXXchurch, then we do it. If we need to rid ourselves of the internet and smartphone completely, then we do it. They are not worth our soul.

God has brought me victory through other avenues. I’ve mentioned them in my advise to ones caught in Ashley Madison. I’ll be posting more about them soon. But I urge you, now, Get desperate to rid yourself of lust or anything else coming between you and your God. Pray for his direction. Pray to experience him through the temptations. And commit to do whatever he tells you to do.

The Shepherd’s Crook

Often, as parents, our children don’t want o listen to what is best for them. When my son, Clint was little he typically wanted to drink more than eat. He was happiest with a sippy cup full of juice. But he couldn’t get all of the nutrients he needed in juice, so we would take it away from him and say “Eat your vegetables first, then you can have more to drink.” At first this advice would be met with crying “Juice, juice”. or maybe a sad “Ju-i-ce” said in such a forlorn voice it was hard not to give in. But eventually he accepted the inevitable and ate his vegetables.

shepherd“He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” the very familiar 23rd Psalm says. David was long a shepherd boy. He knew the habit of lambs to want to just run and play. Some times they had to have encouragement with the shepherd’s crook to lie down – to eat and then rest. A lamb might choose to only run, play, and eat in clover. But they need a variety of pasture. A shepherd worth his salt will lead the lamb to other pastures, so they will get what they really need.

In John 10, we have this great passage about Jesus being the good shepherd.  His flock know his voice and follow him. Our choice may be to only run and play, then lie down in a bed of ease. But Jesus knows what is best for us. He may lead us, at times, to hardship as that is how we will grow the most. He does not necessarily cause the hardship, but will allow it for our own good. In those times, we are to “press in” to his lead, learn the lessons he wishes to show us, then take on his comfort – lie down  in his green pasture.