Sacrificing what is Necessary

How seriously do I take the words of Jesus?  I would be lying if I said that I seriously applied all of Jesus’ words to my life all of the time.  Yes, I am just a young, imperfect person living in a dark and sinful world, but at what point does that become a justification and an excuse instead of a circumstance, and one that I have already been set free from at that?  Jesus didn’t die one the cross so that I could go on sinning with the comfort of grace and that requires serious consideration on my part.
 
I really started thinking about this a few weeks ago during the senior high Sunday school class when we were talking about the Sermon on the mount.  In this sermon, which is the first major sermon recorded in Jesus’ ministry, Jesus doesn’t really hold anything back. Jesus calls those listening to be more righteous than the Pharisees (which would not have been an easy task, the Pharisees were all about righteousness), He turns the worldly value system on its head in the Beatitudes, and He tells everyone to cut off their arm if it causes them to sin.
 
In Matthew 5:29-30 Jesus says this: “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.”  Now, I don’t necessarily believe this to be literal, but that doesn’t take away from the weight of what Jesus is saying.  Jesus is saying that sin is so serious that we need to cut off anything that causes us to sin, even if it seems like it is necessary.
 
I am reminded of a scene from the movie Fireproof.  This movie follows a firefighter and his wife as they are on the verge of getting a divorce.  Before this happens, the man’s father challenges him to do a 40-day Love Dare before he finalizes anything.  The main character struggles with an addiction to pornography throughout the movie, and at one point, in order to rid himself of the temptation, he takes his computer out and smashes it with a baseball bat.  The scene is a comical take on a very serious subject, but when I see this scene I can’t help but feel like that is what it looks like to cut off a hand or gouge out an eye.
 
So my challenge to you, and to myself, is that we would be able to find those things that keep us trapped in our sins and cut them out of our lives.  Maybe that means getting rid of a phone or computer like in the movie.  Maybe that means shining light on something that has been hidden in the dark for far too long.  Maybe that means distancing yourself from, or even ending, relationships that have caused you much more harm and heartache than good.  Whatever this may mean for you, I hope and pray that Christ will give you the strength to cut whatever is holding you down in sin our of your life.  No matter how essential it may seem, losing something temporary far outweighs burning with them in the end.
 
Until He Returns,
Gage Addington