These commands from Jesus can be applied in many ways, but let me share with you how He gave me a clear lesson in these principles through my love of hot chocolate.
Now, drinking hot chocolate is not inherently bad, but drinking it in excess to the point of harming your health is most certainly a sin in God's sight. Part of my problem was that I didn't just like hot chocolate - I loved it. Perhaps I was even IN love with it. I considered it my guilty pleasure. I deserved it after a long, hard day. I began experimenting with different kinds of hot chocolate, and I eventually created a combination of them that made a truly decadent drink. Not only was this combo filled with exorbitant amounts of sugar, but also of caffeine, which led to it seriously affecting my ability to sleep at night.
When the Lord showed me the Scriptures above, I knew that it was time to deal severely with my hot chocolate habit, and that He would give me the grace to separate myself from it. The first thing God told me was, "Do not bring any more hot chocolate into your house." So I made a quality decision not to purchase any more of it. Then the Lord led me to throw out every trace of hot chocolate that was already in my home. When I hesitated for a day or two, He knew exactly why, and He said, "Do not worry about the cost. I will reward you and honor you for your sacrifice." So I went about the painful business of disposing of all of my hot chocolate stashes.
Wouldn't you know it? As soon as I started dealing severely with my bad habit, it seemed like everyone everywhere was drinking hot chocolate. I cried out to God to deliver me from my unholy cravings. And while it didn't happen overnight, I eventually did experience total deliverance and healing. I haven't had a mug of hot chocolate in months, because I'm not certain that I could resist falling back into my old patterns, if I began drinking it again.
What turned the tide for me was following Jesus' advice in the verses above - "Remove yourself from the source of temptation." There are times when we need to literally separate ourselves from people, places and things that tempt us to sin against God, in order to do His will. Jesus' command to tear out our eye and cut off our hand means that He expects us to take extreme measures in order to obey Him. When the Savior calls us to lay something down, it's because He has something better for us up ahead that is waiting for us on the other side of our obedience - something that He desperately does not want us to miss out on.
I believe that the Lord is speaking to you through this message today. Will you answer His call to come up higher in your devotion to Him, and to experience life at its very best?
Prayer: Lord, show me what things You would like me to deal with right now that are keeping me from Your highest purposes and plans for me. Deliver me from all my fears, and reassure me that You will be with me, and help me every step of the way. Remind me that Your Holy Spirit dwells within me to empower me to do whatever You call me to do. Thank You for the untold rewards that I will reap as I follow Your lead into a greater level of obedience and holiness!
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