Temptation is always at hand. Christians have an enemy that is always trying to entrap and entice them. The culture in which we live is so saturated with sin that we would have to move to the most isolated place on earth to try to escape it. The good news is that we do not face this temptation alone. We have in Jesus a Savior “who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
We also have a power inside us to help us resist that temptation. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Since God has enabled us to endure and overcome, we must act. We must see sin for what it is – rebellion against God – and determine to deal with it decisively. Jesus put in this dramatic way. “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!” (Matthew 5:29-30)
Jesus is not endorsing self-mutilation, but He is saying that we need to go to extremes to deal with temptation and sin. We cannot settle into an easy truce with it. The Christian life is not about rearranging and shifting our sin from place to place. We are called to “put to death what belongs to your worldly nature” (1 Peter 2:11) and to “make not plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.” (Romans 13:14)
Most of us have danger zones. We have certain triggers that send us off down the pathway to sin. Jesus would tell us to deal drastically with those triggers. If our internet access leads us to sin, we either need to put appropriate filters on our internet access or get rid of it! If what we watch on TV leads us to sinful thoughts, then we either need to block those shows or get rid of the TV. If the friends we hang out with drag us down into the mud with them, then we need to cut the cord on those friends. Does this sound drastic? It should, for sin requires drastic action on our part.
Sin always has a price, and that price is always higher than advertised. Let us be aware of the high cost of sin, and let us respond deliberately and decisively to deal with it in our lives.