The first thing I had to do to have a changed life was to admit that I could not do anything about my self-will and sin. I admitted that sin had beaten me and I was helpless against it. My will was twisted by sin so that the decision of whether or not to sin was no longer a choice I could make. Sin was no longer a choice but a compulsion. I always sinned, even when I did not want to. Since I could not do anything about my sin, I placed the entire matter of my sin into the hands of God. Once I turned my will and my sin over to a Power greater than myself, there was nothing left for me to do about it other than to trust God to take care of my sin problem for me.
In the Bible, Jesus Christ says: “Cut off your own hand if it causes you to lose faith! It’s better for you to go through life disfigured than it is to go into the inexhaustible fires of the fiery garbage heap of hell with two hands! Cut off your own foot if it causes you to lose faith! It’s better for you to go through life as a cripple than to have two feet in the fiery garbage heap of hell! Gouge out your own eye if it causes you to lose faith! It’s better for you to enter the Kingdom of God one-eyed than it is to have two eyes and be thrown onto the fiery garbage heap of hell where the worm never stops gnawing and the fire is never extinguished!” (Mk. 9:43-48)
Jesus uses strong language and imagery because He wants to make certain we get the message: Sin is deadly! Sin separates me from the love God offers. Jesus tells me that even though He has taken care of my sin problem, I may still need to take action. I may have to cut off people, places, and things. I may have to cut off a conversation that is leading to sin. I may have to cut off a movie, a song, a book that is leading me to sin. Jesus uses the imagery of amputation to make His point. But the amputation that I may make is not a literal, physical amputation, but a spiritual one. I have to be willing to cut off anything that is leading me back to my old way of life.
QUESTION FOR THE DAY:
Have I honestly and completely turned my sin problem over to the care of God, and am I willing to “cut off” anything (and anyone) that may cause me to sin?
When the night becomes dark, your love, O Lord, is a fire. Remind me that today I have nothing to fear, even if I wander through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Amen.