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Matthew 5:27-30 are Jesus' teachings about adultery. And really I think these teachings, along with many others in the Sermon on the Mount, are even more so about what is going on inside our hearts. Jesus discusses how the law says clearly how we are "not to do" something - it's very apparent and very "exterior" if we commit a sin like adultery. Jesus says that the exterior/apparent/obvious sin is wrong for sure - but Jesus is equally as concerned with what's going on in the "interior" - inside our hearts. Jesus proposes that if we have looked at someone lustfully with our "interior", we have committed the same sin as if we had actually committed adultery on the "exterior." Do you see how Jesus' teachings in today's readings are really focusing on the condition of our hearts? How is the condition of your heart today when it comes to these teachings?
I know these can be seen as "hard teachings." Please note that I do not believe that Jesus is advocating self-mutilation in these readings - he is being figurative, not literal, in his speech about gouging out an eye or cutting off a hand. (someone can be blind and still lust) But he wants the point to be made very strongly. These teachings are obviously important for us to meditate on and learn from and obey. I am sure we all know it is true that what we "think" can often become what we "do". So, it seems to me that Jesus is trying to stop us from even committing sin at the "thinking" level, because it may later manifest itself into action. Or - even if it does not manifest itself into action the thinking of the sin can actually affect us just adversely as much as the actual doing of the sin. Let us not let our minds wander into cloudy territory, but let us keep our minds clean and focused on Jesus, His Kingdom, and His Righteousness. Jesus' teachings today in Matthew 5 can certainly keep us from cloudy thinking and the confusion of internal sin:
I do actually want to say a few more things about the whole adultery / lust issue brought up in today's readings. And it is this - probably many of us have struggled with lust, or are struggling with lust right now. I am very saddened by many things I have seen and heard and experienced over the years. However sad I am or have been though, I am sure God grieves for us so much more. I guess I just want to encourage anyone now who is reading this that might be struggling with lust or pornography or adultery or pre-marital sex etc. - there truly is freedom from what you are struggling with. And that freedom ultimately only is found in the healing love of Jesus. I just pray that you will do everything you can to allow Jesus to free you from what's enslaved you - seek professional counseling, find an accountability partner, confess your sins, read empowering books about freedom from what you are struggling with, avoid R-rated movies or Hollywood entertainment magazines if you need to, avoid situations or locations that will tempt you, and above all pray to Jesus and ask for healing continually. He will heal you. It may take time. But Jesus will heal you. God bless you as you work your way out of this and into amazing freedom! God will get you there! Let the healing begin!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Matthew titled "Flames of Desire" is at this link, "Avoiding the Sin of Adultery" is at this link, and "Jesus and the Law of Retaliation (Lex Talionis)" is at this link.
Worship God: Today’s readings reminded me of Zach William’s terrific song “Chain Breaker:"
Do you have chains binding you? Click here for those chains to be broken!
Please join me in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will not commit adultery in your life. Pray that you will not look at another person lustfully. Pray that if you are committing adultery in your heart right now that you will repent and turn to Jesus for healing.
Comments from You and Questions of the Day: Based on our readings in Matthew chapter 5 today about lust, are there any good books or websites you can recommend related to achieving victory in this area of our lives? Or any habits or practices of yours that you are comfortable sharing about how you avoid the sin of lust in your life? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!