While all sinful choices bring addictive like habits none seem to be quite so enslaving as the sexual sins. Perhaps that’s why Jesus addresses these sins as first taking place in the heart.
27 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 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. 30 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 5:27-30).
Jesus recommends a radical amputation to avoid such sins. It’s important to remember that he is still speaking about sins of the heart. This is a radical surgery to desires, not a mutilation of the body. To be victorious, Jesus says, You have to keep your eyes on the eternal destiny not the temporal pleasure.
I have found that there are three steps to doing business with these kinds of temptations. (1) Admit the reality of the temptation, (2) Repent where sin has been committed, (3) Prepare for battle with the enemy.
When we admit the reality of the temptation we will walk in humility and we will seek accountability (1 Corinthians 10:12-14).
Steve Farrar reminds us of the importance of taking the temptation seriously.
We are in the greatest danger of all when we think we are safe. When a guy begins to think that this could never happen to him, then he needs to think again. I once heard Joe Aldrich, president of Multonomah School of the Bible, make a statement that sent a literal chill down my spine. Aldrich said, “Have you ever noticed how many men in the Bible failed in the second half of life? Our enemy is so cunning that he will wait forty or even fifty years to set a trap.” That’s precisely what happened to King David.That’s why we can never deceive ourselves into thinking we are somehow “above” sexual sin. The moment you begin to view yourself in that light, you can be sure that your carcass will one day be hanging in cold storage (Steve Farrar, Point Man, p. 66)
Take seriously the temptation. No one is above it.
This week: Help for those facing sexual temptation.