Temptation to Sin
18 April 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 18:7-9 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
7 “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. 8 So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. (Matthew 18:7–9 NLT)
Sin is “missing the mark.” Sin separates us from God. Sin takes us the wrong direction. Sin causes us to exchange the precious for rubbish and eternity with God for eternity separated from God. Temptations are inevitable, they’re all around us, and they affect us differently. Jesus addresses that when he says, “If your hand causes you to sin, or if your eye causes you to sin.” Everyone has a temptation button, but not all have the same temptation button.
Temptations are in our world, and there are people in the world whose aim in life seems to be to find our temptation button and push it! Maybe we should learn what our button is and who’s trying to push it and steer clear! And God help us not to be the ones who push someone else’s temptation button! Great sorrow lies on that path.
Some people feel that because there’s temptation in the world, we should all avoid the world, gather in “holy huddles” and stay sin-free. Some feel a desire to focus entirely on God and think we should all live ascetic, monastic lives. I can’t judge whether that’s right for those folks, but I know Jesus said that we’re light that shouldn’t be hidden under a washtub, we’re salt that needs to be shaken out of the saltshaker, and we’re yeast that needs to be mixed into the whole batch of dough.
Listen to Jesus tell us to take the most drastic measures to avoid missing the mark! And listen to Jesus tell us to bring the Kingdom of Heaven into the world, mixing our piece of Heaven thoroughly into the hell of the unredeemed world! Now there’s a challenge! Are we up to it?
Father, Jesus’ words are strong and the danger is real. Help us to be wise, to be willing to take drastic measures to keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from evil, so we can be Kingdom seed in the world! Amen.