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. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell (Mark 9:43-47 NIV)
A couple months ago I was working on renovating my bathroom. I wasn’t planning anything major, just replacing the vanity and the toilet and pulling out the wainscoting (wood paneling that ran along the bottom 4 feet of the wall). Nothing major; just a few updates to make it look better. But when I started to take out the wainscoting I realized why they put it there in the first place. It was hiding a bunch of old, broken tiles, and the grout was used to stick them in place. I instantly realized I was in for a lot more work.
But I eventually finished it all. I ended up covering it with sheetrock mud and smoothing it out so it looked like any other wall. However, next time I consider working on a bathroom, I’ll remember the amount of work it took to get that stuff taken care of. I had to go to great lengths to get rid of it.
In this passage Jesus tells us to do the same thing with sin in our lives. To go to whatever lengths it takes to get rid of it. Now, do I recommend going out and cutting your hand off? No. But if you’re struggling with something, I recommend doing whatever it takes to avoid that temptation. Don’t handle the money at your work, get an Internet filter for your computer, and find someone to hold you accountable whatever it takes.
Jesus wants us to deepen our relationship with Him so much, that He doesn’t want anything to get in the way. Sin gets in the way of that relationship. Don’t let it. Flee from it. Get some close friends to help encourage you.
Father, if there’s anything in my life that’s keeping me from You, I pray that you would help me get it out of my life. Help me take sin as seriously as You do, and give me the strength and the wisdom to resist it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
-Seth Caddell is the guest devotion writer for this week. He is the Associate Minister of Adult Ministries at Northside, and blogs over at www.LifeAsExperienced.com