Tuesday, January 17, 2017

two gates to guard

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.
Matthew 5:30

Sexual immorality is driven by strong lust, just like any sin. The issue with sexual lust is that it has strong ties to the impulses of our bodies. And Jesus knew this being tempted like we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus knew that a radical view of controlling lust was the best strategy to fight this kind of sin, so He recommended quick action with strong imagery. Tearing out eyes and chopping off hands though is not to be a literal response. If so, we'd all be one-eyed amputees. The issue is first a mindset and a strong resolve that is active and always ready to take real measures to fight sexual sin.

There are two gates that must be well controlled and guarded to keep sexual lust at bay. The first is the gate of our eyes (Matthew 5:29). Jesus is right to point out that we first often look and lust. For men, this can be true about a beautiful woman. It can also be true about a sleek sports car. Looking and wanting become gateways for all kinds of sin. To fight them well we must guard the eye gate and discipline ourselves not to feed what our eyes want to view in order to fuel sinful imaginations. In an age of pornified entertainment, this is a constant battle. This gate needs a big guard.

A second guard must be posted at the gate of our actions. Cutting off the right hand is the strong way of saying we must seriously assess what we do. We must avoid actions that bring us into sin. We may need to change places we go, things we do, or activities in which we participate if they lead us into sinful struggles. With sexual sins, we may need to cut off relationships that led us down bad roads. It is better to briefly live with a feeling of missing something, than to keep doing it and displease our Lord. We can learn to experience joy in holy actions by guarding this gate and doing better things.

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