How serious are you about salvation? How serious should you be? Is it the most important thing in your life? Should it be the most important thing?
To answer these questions read this section of the scripture, for it gives us an indication of how serious we should be about this opportunity the Lord has given each of us. We need to also recall the scripture that says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Jesus said that if we have a problem with any part of our body, we should be serious enough about our salvation that we should cut out the bit that causes us to sin so as to ensure we are saved. That sounds pretty serious to me! It also sounds a bit drastic, but if we have a problem with sin we must be prepared to take drastic measures.
He said if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If you have a problem with lust that could lead you to sins of adultery or fornication, then you need to consider what drastic measures you could take to overcome that passion of the flesh. Likewise if your hand causes you to sin, say through stealing, or if your foot causes you to sin, say through violence, then what drastic measures should you take to overcome these issues? For many people the causes of sin are not from physical issues but are mental or psychological. Clearly you can’t cut your brain out, but there must be some other drastic measure you could take if necessary to overcome the temptation, perhaps to separate yourself from the thing or person that is tempting you.
Sin is the thing that stands between man and God. And sin is the thing that can prevent you from entering God’s kingdom. We cannot be complacent about the desires of the flesh that can lead to sin. That is why the Lord says to take drastic measures to overcome these passions.
Now we are fortunate that the Lord has provided a means of escape to overcome all temptation, if we take it and use it. As he said in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” His method does not require us to maim ourself to overcome passions. He provides a means to overcome the temptations so that we can endure and come through victoriously.
He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask him and when we apply the ministry of walking in the Spirit we have the power to overcome. The process of walking in the Spirit hands the problem or temptation over to the Lord for him to deal with it. In so doing we are following his guidance to, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.” (1 Peter 5:6) When we humble ourselves we put the Lord in charge and he is able to take control of the situation.
Does this work? Absolutely. Provided we have faith and put our trust in God, we can move mountains.
As I said we are fortunate that he has put this ministry in place in the gospel. Unfortunately not everyone knows about it or uses the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to overcome. Are there other ways to fight temptation? Yes there are, but they are less effective for they rely more upon our own strength rather than the Lord, and we should rely on the Lord. If a person follows the processes outlined by Paul in Philippians 4:4-9 and especially verse 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Anyone doing this, and the key here is to, “…think about these things,” will have a chance to have the victory over sin for this too is a form of walking in the Spirit. But even doing this we should put the power into the Lord’s hands through prayer rather than rely on our own strength.
But what if you can’t do these things either? Then if you are serious about salvation you will need to find other drastic measures to overcome sin. For as Jesus said, it is better to enter heaven maimed or lame than to miss out. After all, in God’s kingdom our bodies will be restored and all causes of sin taken away. Be prepared to take whatever action is necessary to separate yourself from sin.
(Picture sourced from stock.xchng.com http://www.sxc.hu/ taken by Miguel Ugalde