Mark 9:45 - (Jesus said) "And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell."
When I was young, I read these words of Jesus with horror. "Cut off a hand or foot?" I thought. "Tear out an eye? What's Jesus talking about? That's gruesome!"
Besides, I knew myself well enough to know that cutting off body parts wouldn't help. I would still find plenty of ways to sin, even if I had no limbs or eyes at all! Sin goes deeper than that.
But when I got older, I found myself considering a possible relationship with a very attractive person who was also attracted to me. The catch? He was not a Christian. In fact, he was fascinated with the occult. It was clear my Christianity and his outlook on life would never mix. And I could not be sure that I would come out of such a relationship unscathed.
And so, I did what Jesus said. I cut it off. (And yes, it definitely hurt, and he had no idea why I suddenly backed away.) That was not a fun period in my life. But it was necessary. And based on things I found out years later, cutting that potential relationship off was probably the best thing I could have done. I doubt anything I could have done would have stopped him from going on into witchcraft and Satanism. But I think there was a real chance he could have stopped me from growing in my faith, from becoming a Christian adult, from finding the path God had for my life.
You probably have things like this in your own life -- things that need to be cut off in order to preserve the rest of your life intact in the faith of Jesus. They may be obvious dangers such as drug or alcohol abuse, an improper relationship, a job where you are expected to do harm and break the law in the interests of your employers.
But they may be less obvious things as well; for example, a good friend who can't manage to stop gossiping about other people -- and drawing you into it, too; or a position of trust where you are tempted to steal, even though you haven't done anything yet; or a car or home you're thinking of buying, even though it will result in you having to focus on money more than you ought to -- possibly to the point of idolatry.
To all these things, Jesus tells us to "Cut it off. Run from the temptation." He says, "Run to Me, and I will protect you." As for all of these good things that nevertheless form a temptation to us, Jesus offers us something much better. He offers us forgiveness, love, and everlasting life. He offers us peace and true wholeness. He even offers to make us part of His own body -- never to be cut off from God's presence. All of these things He will give us freely, if we will only trust Him to do it. And He is trustworthy. For He is the One who died and rose again to make us God's people.
THE PRAYER: Lord Holy Spirit, You know what dangerous things might be in my life that need to be cut off. Please take care of it; help me to bear it in Your love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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