[Jesus said] “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”
Be Willing to Sacrifice
What would you be willing to do in order to avoid sin?
Let’s say that your hand has a mind of its own. It keeps grabbing merchandise that you haven’t paid for and carries it out of the store. It regularly balls itself into a fist and punches people in the face for no reason whatsoever. It even expresses itself to others using obscene gestures. Would you be willing to chop off your hand if that meant your hand would no longer be able to lead you into sin?
What about if your eye kept looking at pornography on the internet? Would you be willing to gouge out your eye so that it would no longer be able to lead you into sin?
These are the kinds of situations that Jesus confronts us with in our Bible passage for today. And he tells us that even though it would definitely be hard to live without a hand or an eye, that is far better than spending eternity in hell.
Of course, Jesus isn’t advocating that we actually maim ourselves to avoid sin. He is, however, graphically portraying the lengths to which he wants us to be willing to go to avoid sin. Avoiding sin is not always going to be a painless endeavor. Sometimes, avoiding sin means that we must give up things that we enjoy. Sometimes, it requires us to do things that we might not otherwise want to do. Sometimes, avoiding sin can be painful. It requires sacrifice.
Jesus, however, assures us that the sacrifice is worth it. And he promises to give us the strength we need to make the sacrifices necessary to avoid sin. He already has sacrificed himself to remove from us the guilt of all our sins. He will not now abandon us as we strive to live our lives for him.
Lord Jesus, you sacrificed yourself for me. Strengthen me that I may be willing to sacrifice everything to follow you. Amen.