READING: Matthew 18
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: How hard do you and I work to eradicate sin from our lives? The words of Matthew 18:8-10 sound much like the previous words of Matthew 5:29-30, thus creating emphasis through repetition and reminding us again about the serious nature of sin:
Matthew 18:8-10 If your hand or your foot causes your downfall, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes your downfall, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, rather than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire!
Matthew 5:29-30 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to 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 the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!
In both cases, Jesus’ point is clear: He so demands that we live godly, pure lives that He uses intentional, dramatic, heart-stopping hyperbole to catch our attention. While it might be easy to hear the word “hyperbole” and think Jesus didn’t mean what He said, to go that route is to miss the point completely. It’s true that He didn’t mean the words literally, but He still meant what He said. We are not to take sin lightly. We are to take whatever measures are necessary to walk in godliness. Repentance may not be easy, but it is always necessary — regardless of the cost.
ACTION STEPS: Consider today what steps you need to take to avoid sin in your life. Is it to be fully honest with somebody? To avoid going to certain places or watching particular shows? To toss your computer or phone? Drastic steps, even when painful, are worth the effort to please Jesus.
PRAYER: “God, grant me wisdom and courage to do whatever it takes to live in purity.”
TOMORROW’S READING: John 7-8