Saturday, August 13, 2022
By Zach Porter - Journey Church Young Adult Leader
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
Adultery, lust, and body dismemberment – buckle up! Jesus’s words in this passage are not ones you can just quickly read over. They are direct and carry a lot of weight with them.
Jesus continues with the Sermon on the Mount, quoting the Ten Commandments saying that it was written “you shall not commit adultery” – simply meaning you shouldn’t have a physical, emotional or sexual relationship with another person who’s not your spouse.
But Jesus gives us a fuller understanding of this commandment. He says that even looking lustfully at someone is adultery. He wants to go deeper, below the surface, looking at our hearts and the root of the issue that is not resulting in bearing good fruit. What is it in us that would cause us to have selfish, misdirected, inappropriate desires towards a person (i.e. lust)? There’s selfishness and pride attached to the lust.
So is Jesus saying I shouldn’t even notice someone good looking? God created humans in his image, one of beauty and glory. We recognize His creation as a very good thing. The point is that It’s not that first glance, but the second. Did my eyes linger, creating an obsession or a fantasy? It’s more than just a glance. It’s me saying, “I want that so I CAN and WILL have it, maybe not physically, but at least in my mind.” But what is stored up in us, will come out of us.
What solution does Jesus give us to deal with this heart issue of lust? He says to gouge out the right eye and cut off the right arm. This is a hyperbole because after all, a blind person without hands can still lust. He’s instead referring to what we see (take in) and our actions (what we do). Jesus is not being literal but radical! We are not to flirt with the temptation or slightly entertain the sin. Jesus’ words are emphatic. We need to identify our stumbling blocks, be ruthless with the problem, and remove ourselves (1 Corinthians 6:18).
What are your stumbling blocks? What has the potential to trip you up from living a life of purity? Who do you have in your community to come alongside and be accountable with?
As I read these verses I can’t help but think of my own story. I was introduced to pornography at a young age and was bound by my own selfish, lustful desires. It overwhelmed me, controlling my daily thoughts and actions throughout high school and college, and impacted my life in so many ways I didn’t know possible. What seemed harmless at the beginning led to destroyed relationships, loneliness, isolation, hopelessness, and a cycle that felt unbreakable.
BUT GOD, who is full of grace and truth, met me where I was and surrounded me with accountable, supportive friends. Once opening up to a couple close friends, their stories were the same. They too struggled against the same desires and temptations – a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. Like the story of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus was saying “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)
“Father, you know my innermost thoughts, desires, and motives because you created me! Search my heart and show me where I may have stumbling blocks in my life. Show me the way to flee from these selfish desires and show me your better way of life. Keep my eyes healthy, focused on you. Surround me with strong, Christ-like friends who are chasing after you. Amen.”
Daily Prayer Initiatives
- Jesus to change more lives as we double the square footage of our Castle Pines location.
- Momentum as we launch our Highlands Ranch location.
- Someone you can invite to Journey on Friend Day (Sunday, September 11)
- One bold prayer you sense God is personally inviting you to pray during the 21 Days.
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.