Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 5:29
“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” – Matthew 5:29
This verse comes from Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Let’s look at the two verses prior to our focus verse. “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28. These two verses are introductory to what he says right after that. First, He quotes a command in the law. “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14. It is probable that the Pharisees taught this as regarding the outward act only for this is predominantly how they saw the law. However, Jesus clarifies this when He told them that just lusting after a woman is adultery, as an inward act of the heart through desires.
Then He goes on to declare the following. “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30.
Now, this is not necessarily to be taken literally. What He is alluding to is that whatever it is that causes us to commit adultery must be removed. If looking at a woman causes it, then we must not allow ourselves to be tempted by what we see. The general idea here is that whatever it is that causes us to sin, we must either get complete control over It or get rid of it. For example, if we see some money on a table at a restaurant and we have a strong desire to take it, we must either get control of our desires and go on about our business, or if that is not possible, then we need to leave and remove our self from the temptation.
We must address this immediately, for the longer we allow the temptation to continue, the greater the probability we will give in to our desires. With theft, it is in stealing what we want or coveting what another has. With adultery, we will either do the deed, or we will lust after the person. And as Jesus said above, simply lusting after anything will cause us to sin. It is not enough to not act it out, but we must not desire to act it out.
I want to encourage us all to be in fervent prayer that we will all be able to keep our desires in check. We must not allow temptation to cause us to sin. God will help us in this area, and we need to rely on Him when we struggle with it. Remember, it is not just the act that is wrong, but it is the lust and covetousness that goes along with it. We must control both so that we can honor and please God with all we have and all we are.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.