Day 67: Amputation
DON'T GIVE YOUR FLESH THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
At this point in your journey toward freedom, hopefully you’ve seen the necessity of cutting out sources of temptation in your life. Remember, there is always an excuse to hold on to the things that tempt us, but the areas where we compromise will be the areas the enemy hits us the hardest.
Is anything more valuable than your hand? What about your eye? We’d agree that if we had to we’d cut out our cellphones, computers, video games, and any other form of temptation.? This is usually where a lot of red flags are raised, but the reality is we cannot continue to allow things into our life that are deliberately tempting us on a regular basis.
Every time in my past that I insisted on holding onto things that are sources of temptation, I’ve stumbled and been miserable. On the other hand, every time that I cut things out of my life that felt “necessary,” I actually felt free once they were gone. Does this mean we cut out every single thing and go live in a cave? No! An entirely different message is being communicated here.
What was being communicated is that we are to remove sources of direct temptation in our lives. Whether that is an adulterous relationship, videos, magazines, cell phones, laptops, or whatever else you know will invariably lead to temptation. We must cut the things out that are clearly only causing strife and turmoil in our lives. The things that we refuse to cut out will always come back to bite us. Do you remember the story I (Brendon) told on Day 5 where I took a sledgehammer to an old cell phone? To refresh your memory, it went something like this:
One time my wife went out of town and I happened to find an old cell phone that didn't have any accountability software installed on it. When those temptation raced through my mind, I knew I had to get rid of that phone. So what could I have done? Put it back and pretend it would all be okay? No! I took a sledgehammer and destroyed that phone. The fires of hell will never be worth us holding onto our “precious” possessions.
For internet accountability, I highly recommend Accountable2You. It’s about 5 dollars a month and you can have all of your smart devices and computers, monitored by accountability partners that you choose. The price is worth it, my friend. Take the next step by cutting out those sources of temptation. Here is a link to their website:
CHANGE CAN HEAL US
When it comes to difficult change, most people choose death instead of radical change that would lead to life. It happens with our health, our bad habits, our relationships, and in our faith. People would rather continue on the path to divorce rather than leave their home and their job - they would rather play with the likelihood of heart disease instead of giving up fried foods. Daily, we choose the "comfortable" life that is leading to our death instead of the life-giving path that demands everything.
Typically, people don't make difficult changes until they've had some kind of "wake up call." For some, that simply means that you won't make any kind of change until it gets bad enough that you have to. For example, someone may know that their smoking habit is bad for them, but they won't give it up until they discover they have lung cancer. I don't know about you, but I don't want to wait for a brutal event such as cancer or the loss of a relationship before I change.
...The gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. -Matthew 7:13
When we give things up so they do not end in our demise, we are choosing to yield to life, and there is but one source of life: Jesus. He is a jealous lover who demands that we surrender everything we hold on to in order for Him to lead us to life. Until we realize that nothing else will give us life, we will desperately cling to all that we hold dear. Let us not be a people that wait to change until the things we hold onto turn to dust, but let us turn to Christ with open hands, ready to receive life and love.
Day 67 Application
Why do you think Jesus chose to use our hands and eyes as an example for how extreme amputation of temptations should be?
Is there anything you would not be willing to let go of for Christ? How can things we refuse to let go of impede our relationship with God and subsequently, our sexual purity? What is the hardest part of letting go of those things?
What is the difference between legalism and cutting out sources of temptation? Why is this difference important?
How would you respond to someone who was trying to manage their sexual purity by solely eliminating sources of temptation? How are they defining what it means to be sexually pure?