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You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, 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. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, 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 be thrown into hell. You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.
The foundation of the Kingdom of God is an unshakable JOY that GROWS from the bottom up.
Overall Commentary: 🌎
Jesus continues His walk through the various areas that fight for domination in people's hearts. He started last week with unresolved wounds that we cause in the hearts of others. Jesus gives us the dignity of giving us the tools to deal with these things ourselves. Today, He goes even deeper into our hearts by discussing an area that doesn't get discussed often. He talks about the secret thoughts of lust we carry toward others.
There is an unshakable joy that grows when we confront these issues head-on. Jesus says unshakable joy grows when we accept responsibility for the SECRETS I CARRY.
Verse 27-28- Unshakable joy slowly grows as I see what poisons my heart.
Cross-references: Deuteronomy 5:18, Exodus 20:14, Proverbs 6:32
Jesus takes the principle from the Old Testament and brings a better understanding of its intent. It is important to remember Jesus is not saying the 7th commandment is wrong. He is also not adding to the text. Jesus is clarifying that God's intent for this command is to point out not only our actions but also our affections.
Jesus is talking about true freedom. Just like sin begins in the heart, so does freedom.
The statistics bare this out as well. In our culture, open sexual experimentation and "freedom" has led to drastic consequences. Almost every crime involving sex has gone up by a staggering amount. While the culture says freedom is found in letting your mind fly, Jesus says our mind cannot be trusted to follow the right path. We must guard it, guide it, and discipline it above all else. We may keep our secret sins secret, but the effects are undeniable. In the verses below, God's Word says there are three reasons why lust is so dangerous.
(1 John 2:15-16) Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
The text above says lust destroys because it doesn't satisfy. It only appears to satisfy for a moment. But, just like salt water, it makes you more and more thirsty until you cannot be met by the real thing. Giving and receiving genuine affection no longer feels normal because you have used a counterfeit for so long.
The text above says lust destroys because it objectifies everything. Lust causes us to see no longer the idea of intimacy as something sacred and holy. It becomes a transaction. We no longer see love as a gift but as a right. Lust steals something that is holy and turns it into a perversion.
The text above says lust destroys because it Lust makes people trophies, not treasures. Lust makes you look at an eternal creature and no longer see the beauty of someone made in God's image. Now they are something to be dominated and possessed. People are no longer looked at for who they are but for what status they bring.
We are already on the road to recovery when we realize that lust has infected our souls. A doctor has to diagnose the disease before he can offer a cure.
Joy grows as I see my heart for what it is.
Verse 29-30- Unshakable joy slowly grows as I see how to fight back.
Cross-references: Mark 9:43-48, Colossians 3:5, Romans 8:13, 1 Peter 4:1-3
Jesus isn't interested in hurting us. He is interested in healing us. To heal, you first have to diagnose the disease. Now that the condition has been revealed, Jesus wants to bring healing. He describes it as "radical amputation."
First, Jesus DOES NOT intend us to cut off our body parts! (Take a deep sigh of relief.)
Jesus is using hyperbole. Hyperbole is an exaggerated statement to express the importance of a point. This is what Jesus is doing. Jesus says we must take this point seriously; we are willing to take drastic steps for freedom.
When He says to cut out an eye or cut off a hand, He is saying we should be willing to do what is necessary to be free.
The big question is how? The book of Colossians brings significant 'next steps' to do this.
(Colossians 3:1-2, 5a, 8-11) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth… So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires… But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
Verse 1- Take it to God first.The very first thing is to get God involved in the problem. The first thing we do is repent to God and allow Him to wash away our sin.
Verse 5- Get serious about freedom. Lasting change will not happen until we become willing to make "radical amputations" in our lives. What these radical amputations are will depend on your issues, but we must be willing to do whatever is necessary.
Here are some examples:
- Downgrade your phone.
- Delete social media.
- Cancel subscriptions.
- Give someone all your internet passwords.
Will it make your life inconvenient? Yes. What is your freedom worth?
Verse 9- Get honest with someone. Everyone needs a "friend who couldn't care less and couldn't care more." By that, I mean someone who couldn't care less that you're not perfect. They don't expect you to be. Therefore, they are not surprised that you have an issue to share. But they also couldn't care more about your freedom.
If someone is ready to take a step toward freedom in sharing their burden with someone else, they first need to pray and ask the Lord who to trust. This can be a while. Everyone does not need to be charged with their secrets. However, someone needs to be. Once you decide who that is, you take the chance. You lay it out there and ask them to walk with you as you take steps. The goal is not for them to carry your burdens. The goal is to have them walk with you as you carry them. They pray for you, and they walk with you. They offer support, they challenge, and they cheer you on.
Verse 10- Replace the bad with good. The worst way to stop doing bad things is just to stop doing them. You need something to replace the bad. Imagine I said not to think about "pink elephants." What do you immediately think about? Pink Elephants, of course. The goal is not to sit around thinking about what not to do. The goal is to replace the "no" with a better "yes." Below is a link to over 101 things to do as an alternative to porn. They will work with other forms of lust as well.
Verse 11- Jesus makes all things new. Jesus is the one who does the miracles. We only provide the problems and the willingness to move toward Him. Trust Him to give you strength, bring the right friends, and always provide a way out of difficult situations. You just have to be willing to take the next step
Joy grows as I take back my freedom one step at a time.
Verse 31-32: Unshakable joy slowly grows as I see that it's about more than me.
Cross-references: Jeremiah 3:1, Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Matthew 19:1-12
Jesus spends a lot of time in Matthew 19 working through how God sees divorce and what we need to do about it. The main idea of this text, for now, is the devastating consequences of not taking sin seriously. If we continue to dehumanize someone through not honoring our relationships and through lust, the results will likely end in separation. What is even worse is we affect not only that relationship but all subsequent relationships.
If you are unwilling to fight for freedom, people you never know may suffer too.
However, the opposite is true too. If we are willing to fight for our freedom and stand with others as they fight for theirs, we can bring freedom to people we will never meet as well.
(James 5:16) Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Jesus wants you FINALLY FREE.
I have taken this journey too. One day I confessed my sin to the Lord. I was so afraid God would not forgive me. I should have known better. I felt the Lord whisper in my heart, "I love you. I am not ashamed of you. I will never give up on you. If this becomes the struggle of your life, I will never turn my back on you. If you do the work, I'll do the miracle." I wonder if God may be saying that to you too.
Because of Jesus, you can now say... Joy grows because I know what God can do. Jesus says, "You deserve to be free."
Questions/Journal Prompts for reflection
- Have you thought about how our hearts can be so wounded by things?
- Why do you think God takes our thought life so seriously?
- Have you ever heard of someone walking toward freedom in this area?
- How could you be a good friend to someone who comes to you?
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