29 “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
Unfortunately for us, this is when we begin to make up extra meanings for Jesus’ words and begin to justify why we don’t fully comply with His teaching. Does Jesus really mean that if it is our eyes or our hands cause us to stumble we should remove them from our body? YES. It is that important to avoid living a life of sinfulness. The issue, however, is that our eye does not cause us to sin and neither does our hand. In saying this, Jesus is giving us no excuse for continuing a life of sin. We like to justify our sinful behavior and sometimes try to convince others that we are justified. However, sin is sin and whether or not we have a good excuse as to why we did it, we are still sinning. We must be as serious about avoiding sin as Jesus is. We must do everything we can to remove it from our lives because it enslaves us.
There are many men that I have spoken with about removing certain things from their lives. Most of them have involved lust or pornography but other times no. “Should I delete my Facebook account? Should I get an internet browsing monitor to keep me accountable? Should I stop going to this place?” Generally when people ask these questions they know what they should do, but they are looking for that one excuse as to why they shouldn’t. I’ve done it too. My response has always been, “what do you think is more important?” Is it your relationship with your wife or your Facebook friends? Is it your relationship with God or your relationship with pornography? Is it going to Cheers or remaining sober? We know the answer, we just don’t like it! We essentially arrive at the point in our lives where we must hack off our hands and when we ask a friend these questions, we are hoping they will let us off the hook. A good friend, however, will help you hold your hand steady or maybe even swing the axe if you cannot do it on your own.
We have become addicted to sin and it will take extreme measures to become un-addicted. The Apostle Paul in Romans 8 explains to us this hard choice we must make, but also gives us hope by explaining the freedom we will experience as a result:
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
The blood of Jesus Christ sets us free from our bondage to sinfulness. We must walk in that freedom by making what we consider the hard choice. But really, it is the easy choice: life or death. We have been granted life, so why would we not walk in it?