Teenside Daily Devotional

4/8/20
Read Matthew 5:27-30.

        One of the main reasons Jesus felt like he had to say the things that he said throughout the Sermon on the Mount is this: the OT scriptures had been misinterpreted for a long time. Recall that in the last passage, he started with murder and connected it with anger, a much more common occurrence. Now, Jesus is starting with adultery and tying it back to something that, again, occurs much more often, lust. God’s intent with His Law was not to trap people within an impossible list of commands. It was to teach them much broader principles by giving them more specific instructions. Here, Jesus is simply pointing back to God’s broader principles by starting with the specific instructions they were familiar with.

        Now, what is “lustful intent” exactly? We hear that word, lust, often, and something may come to mind when it’s said, but what does Jesus mean here? He’s referring to a strong sexual desire for someone else that you are not married to. How do we know this is the case? Look closely. He says that if you engage in these thoughts, you have committed adultery with this person. Well, can you commit adultery with someone that you are married to? Nope. So, we conclude that this is what Jesus means. Do not for a second believe that he is only talking to married people here. Read 1 Corinthians 6:18-19 to see Paul’s words to married and unmarried people.

        We know that our world, especially through the internet and social media, makes it extremely easy to fall into the trap of lustful thoughts. Even though my faith in Christ has grown and my struggle with lust has become easier, not a day goes by that I do not encounter the temptation to lust. So, how do we fight it? How do we conquer this battle so that God can be glorified through our pure thoughts instead? It’s not easy, but it is simple. Jesus answers this question in verses 29 and 30. He is not telling you to literally remove any eye or hand. What he is saying is that something has to go. There is a source in your life that is fueling these thoughts. He wants you to track it down and remove it. The significance of Jesus specifying “right eye” and “right hand” is that this source may be of even higher importance to you than you think, as the right side was often seen as powerful or important in his time.

Conquering lust may mean being much more honest with yourself than you have ever been. It may mean giving up things that you love. It may mean creating stricter boundaries with people that you love. It may mean opening up to God in a deeper and more honest way. Personally, I feel like I have given up so much to defeat the lust in my life. But one thing that I can assure you is that it is worth it. I’m not saying that it will be worth it when you’re married although that’s probably true. It’s worth it now. Why? Lust can be distracting. It can burn away the trust between people. It can destroy relationships. It can consume you. I’ve been there. But once you get a taste of freedom from it, you’ll want more. You’ll strive to be completely free from it. And eventually, with constant prayer, a plan, and God’s help, you will be!

Questions:

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. Are there any instances of lust in your life right now? Being aware of these, have they affected the way that you think or act?
  2. What do you believe the sources that fuel lust in your life are? What can you do to remove them or guard against them as Jesus is commanding?
  3. Conquering lustful desires can take enormous sacrifice. Yet, we have so much to gain by leaving them behind. God is with us through it all, but it takes effort on our end. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to battle the sins that you struggle with?

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Pray that God would help you to be aware of any instances of lust in your life. Ask Him to help you remove and guard against the sources that fuel temptation. Submit your will to battle this on your own to God and let him walk with you in this battle. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Song: Out of Hiding- Steffany Gretzinger
Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/169Fs68hROYRdS362T8D9w
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