By this point in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has flipped the script a couple different times. He’s taking common ideas held by the people of His day and showing them a new way. Our passage for today is no different.
Everyone knows adultery is wrong. That’s not being disputed. In our lingo, that’s called cheating on your husband or wife. Yeah, we all get that’s wrong.
But what if you lust after someone?
“Lusting” is a word we use in church circles. But do we really know what it means? It goes hand-in-hand with the sin of envy. At the root of lust is the idea of wanting something for ourselves to the point where we fixate on it.
Commonly, lust is used as a sexual term. The idea here is that you see someone of the opposite gender and you want them.
Jesus flat out says that’s as bad as cheating on your spouse.
I think it’s a good rule in life that if Jesus puts emphasis on something, we should too. So look at your own life. Give yourself a check-up. How are YOU doing on this?
A lot of times we associate this sin specifically with guys. Certainly it’s a sin many guys struggle with. In our passage, Jesus even frames the discussion around a man struggling with lusting after a woman. But girls aren’t off the hook here.
We ALL need to make sure that we choosing holiness over what feels good.
Just that discussion would make this passage tough enough. Then, Jesus gets into something that sometimes confuses people.
He talks about gouging out your eye and cutting off your hand. So…what’s going on here?
Well, I’ll say this much – I don’t think Jesus literally means you need to mutilate your body if you sin. Really what Jesus is getting at here is nailing down your real priorities.
What’s more important – your relationship with Christ or that hot guy you noticed across the room? Jesus’ point here is that if your relationship with Christ is really your top priority, you are going to do whatever it takes to set up boundaries to keep yourself from sinning.
So let’s get serious about this.
If you know there’s a website that has questionable content, don’t go near it. If all your friends went to see that hot new movie in theaters but you know it shows nudity, don’t go see it. If you see a good-looking girl and you know your mind is starting to wander…
The bottom line is that none of us can beat lust on our own. Ultimately, we need to give this struggle over to God and acknowledge that we desperately need help.
So pray today and ask God to help you set up boundaries in your life. This stuff was serious to Jesus, I think it should be serious to us.