“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.”
Jesus is telling them commands they already knew, but then he claims the authority to take those commands further, making the law THAT much more impossible to keep on self-effort alone. In verse 27, Jesus say that Just by simply looking at a woman with lust means you have sex with her in your heart. Wow. Jesus pulls back the curtain to reveal that God’s laws are deeply personal, they have been all along. He applies the laws to the heart and mind, not just our actions, and by doing so, moves the law out of reach of human ability to keep. Sure, I may go my whole life without sleeping with a woman who is not my wife, but how am I to keep my mind from lusting, even once in my life? God’s laws were Mt. Everest, but with Jesus’ application, the distance goes from the North Pole to Jupiter. It’s just beyond us.
Jesus lived the perfect life I could not live and died the death I should have died because of my sin so that I could have His righteousness. But He still has instruction for me on fighting sin. He says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out…. cut if off and throw it away.”
What if I took sin as seriously as God takes it?
I would be mangled, without eyes, hands, or feet.
Why don’t I take sin as seriously as God does?
Because part of my heart covets and treasures and feeds my sins, my habits.
What can I “cut off” and kill so that I may be holier and a man after God’s heart?
ONE – I can kill my “rights”, expectations, demands, and entitlements – stop demanding things to be done how and when I want them done. The house doesn’t always have to be cleaned, the home will be dirty, my daughter will pick things up and throw them on the floor, the dogs will bring in dirt and leaves from the outside.
TWO – Being tired, lazy, bored, and not in the Word or in prayer – just like David, when I am filled with flesh and not the Spirit, my eyes and heart are prone to wander. Stay in the Word and in prayer, seek every day to be filled with the Spirit, and for my flesh to die. Be accountable to close friends.
THREE – By losing sight of my mission, purpose, calling. I am here to glorify God and magnify Jesus in my actions, choices, life, words, and everything. I am not to grow rich, comfortable, fat, and happy. Stay lean and in shape to do the will of God.
Now, how do I apply this? Let’s hone in on lust.
- Avoid sin – stay away from the things/places/circumstances that easily tempt me.
- Say “No” when temptation arises.
- Turn to something magnificent (like Christ crucified, glorified).
- Hold the purified thought in my mind until the dirty thought is gone.
- Enjoy a contrary but superior pleasure, like the love of Christ.
- Move on to enjoying Christ and His death, forgiveness, and love.