Matthew 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
I just read an article on dealing with sexual temptation written by a friend of mine that really disturbed me.
Actually, it wasn’t the article that disturbed me as much as a thought that went through my mind.
This particular piece was written on, yes, sexual temptation but particular how serious we must take it in the very first initial instance. To recognize the wandering eye and to immediately deal with it through prayer and if necessary, confession. To a large degree it was really repeating and expanding on the principal that Jesus laid down in the above passage. (Matt 5:29)
He’s the bit that scared me.
As I was reflecting on the article and the principal above, I distinctly noticed a thought fly across the radar of my mind that went something like this: “Jeez that’s a bit over the top isn’t it? It’s not like it’s a Sin to be tempted.”
This, let me tell you, is a thought from the pit of hell itself.
No, temptation is not a sin.
BUT, If I were Satan, I couldn’t think of a faster and more efficient way of completely ruining someone’s life and faith by encouraging them to take sin lightly and ignore the risk of falling to temptation.
Beginning with taking temptation itself lightly.
It’s been brought home to me recently that the first step in the destruction of anyone’s soul is when they begin to take sin lightly and ignore the pitfalls around it.
But we don’t really like taking sin seriously do we? When was the last time we had a confession service?
I wonder if it isn’t because we all know deep down that there’s not one of us alive who has not at one point ‘let our eye cause us to sin.’ But that’s the point of Jesus’ teaching (well at least half of it anyway) that we are all, aside from his grace and work in our lives, completely ‘done for’.
We begin to ignore the seriousness of sin when we begin to ignore the fact that we are at war. This war takes place in our schedules, the relationships we allow ourselves to develop, the things we allow ourselves to see, the time we spend doing certain things, the things that we set our eye on.
If anyone out there wants to be a pastor, I’ll tell you what the toughest part of the job is: having a conversation with someone about the reality of the war for their soul (especially when they’re losing it) whilst they are doing everything to ignore it.
Actually, that’s the second hardest, the hardest is pretty much exactly the same thing, but the conversation is with yourself.
At the end of the day, most of us don’t actually want to know the truth; that my heart and your heart is an idol factory. The irony is, the more we ignore this, the more we fall to it.
This isn’t written to freak us out, but to make us aware. In fact, I believe that it is part of God’s inexhaustible loved for us that, like a good father, provides us with warnings and reminders like this just when we need them. It reminds me our spiritual destiny really does matter to him.
And just in case we thinking we could get by without Jesus, well we can consider ourselves reminded. We can’t. Not by a long shot.
What if we just took a moment today to be completely honest with God, and wrote down every single thing that we can remember being really tempted by recently and just bring it to him in prayer?