If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away

Pluck out an eye?   Lop off a hand?   Imagine how the disciples’ jaws must have dropped when Jesus said this!   His point, however, wasn’t that self-mutilation is a necessary step to holiness.   It’s that God craves our holiness.   The purity and faithfulness that he intends for us are worth more, even, than a sound, whole body.

God has called you, after all, to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15).   Jesus’ life in you, his holiness, is a treasure you carry within yourself.   And so, he says, if something threatens that holiness, get rid of it.   Throw it away.   It’s better to do without something than to have it and to sin because you do.   A book or magazine, a picture or movie—if lust rises up because of it, discard it.   Thoughts that lead you to sin—turn away from them;   don’t entertain them.

But holiness is not just about cutting things out of your life.   There are other ways you can preserve and foster holiness.   Pick up the Scriptures and read—maybe the story of Jesus’ death or a passage that declares your worth in God’s sight (Matthew 26–28; Psalm 139).   Write a note to remind yourself that you are “created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Ephesians 4:24).   Sit quietly in prayer and ask the Lord to show you something about the depth of his love for you.

Remember too that God earnestly desires you to be holy, and so he is intent on reaching out to help you.   So when you are facing temptation and the allure of sin, cry out to him.   Ask the Holy Spirit to give you his grace and to help you grow in the fruit of self-control.

And if you do fall to temptation, don’t despair.   God still loves you.   No distance, no depth of sin, is ever beyond his reach.   He is always ready to forgive you, even if you commit the same sin again and again.   Never hesitate to run to him.   He will shower you with his mercy—and the grace to live a holy life.

Word Among Us