Life of Christ - James Tissot
_ Sermon on the Mount:
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matthew 5:29-30).
Jesus is obviously using hyerbole, but His point is abundantly clear: remove anything in your life that is causing you to sin. Said in the words of John Piper, we must “wage war on sin” and these removals are preemptive strikes to neutralize things (potentially even good things) the enemy has commandeered to use as weapons against us. As the “Seven Deadly Sins” play out in America, this surgery could take the form of:
_ 1. Wrath: Avoid whatever activities stir your anger, which could be reading the newspaper & political blogs or attending sporting events.
2. Greed: Like the rich young ruler let go of material wealth by donating money to ministries/charities and selling/giving away possessions.
3. Sloth: To stop wasting your time and talents avoid time-wasting activities such as: cancel your TV subscription or if necessary deleting your Facebook account.
4. Pride: The most difficult of all by far, but doable by avoiding places and activites that feed your ego, which might include blocking sycophants and turning down high profile engagements.
5. Lust: For men, flee from would-be adulteress of your heart wherever she lurks by avoiding jogging paths, tanning spots, and installing accountability software on your computer.
6. Envy: See yourself objectively as God sees you, which may mean stop comparing yourself to others or comparing yourself to those less fortunate to see how truly blessed you are.
7. Gluttony: Avoid tempting food wherever it can lure you, which may mean sending someone else to do your grocery shopping or taking an alternate route home to avoid fast food joints.