And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matt 5:29 NASB)
The eye is a key to victory in the battle for your mind. In the old days they would build a wall around a city. The idea was that your city would be protected from enemy attacks by the wall, and you could protect those inside the walls and restrict those who came through the gates. If you wanted to you could disarm people as they walked through the gate. You could control the access that evil men had to your town by limiting access through the gate. Even today people live in gated communities, so that they can feel like they are a bit safer.
Your mind and soul are your city and you must protect your gates. If you just let anything into your mind, you are giving Satan open access to your soul. Paul tells us to take up the “shield of faith” to “quench the flaming missiles of the evil one.” (Eph 6:16) Again in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 where Paul tells us how to wage spiritual war, he speaks of imaginations and speculations that raise themselves above what we know to be true about God. The greatest access points to our mind where all spiritual warfare begins, are our eyes and ears. We must protect these gates!
“I have made a covenant with my eyes.” (Job 31:1)
He knew that if he looked, he would be tempted to lust, and so he protected his eye gate. There are times in our lives where we have to make choices to protect our eyes. The best method of protection is found in Proverbs 4: 14-15:
“Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on.”
I remember working in NYC in the days before Disney bought up 42nd street, and having to walk through that area to port authority with my eyes glued to the ground because you could not look at the signs or shop windows.
Jesus makes an outrageous statement here saying that if your right eye causes you to stumble, you would be better off plucking it out, than to go on living with a member of your body that led you into temptation. Hear this, the One who opened blind eyes on a regular basis would rather see you lose that eye, than “just look” at a man or woman to lust after them.
In the next verse He introduces your right hand to the mix, and in Matt 18 He includes your foot. So then, if your foot carries you to the place your hand can pick up and your eyes can take in that which makes you stumble – better to not have them, than to walk, touch and see the thing that draws your heart away from the will of the Father.
So the real question is, will gouging out your eye or cutting off your hand help your sin problem. Was Jesus an advocate of self-mutilation? Not at all. He is making it clear how deadly sin is, and to what lengths we ought to go to keep free of it. Sin will lead to death every time, and anything in our life that draws us away from God must go.
Listen to what James has to say:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15)
Sin, outside of a relationship with Jesus leads to eternal death, but sin, even in the Christians life, leads to death at some level.
What does lead us into sin? Is it our eyes, hands or feet? More likely it is what we are allowing into our mind. Paul, in Philippians 4:8 gives this advice:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
David said it this way in Psalm 119:11
“Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.”
Guard your gates!
Come back soon,