Matthew 18:6-9

            A universal truism of this world is that sin exists.  Greed, envy, gluttony, sloth, anger, lust, and pride abound no matter where one goes on this planet.  And it is terrible.  Sin causes people to stumble, and, when unchecked, leads to personal and corporate destruction.  When sin is viewed as merely a character flaw, or simply part of the fabric of organizations and institutions, then hellfire is not far off.  Hell exists because of sin. 

            Jesus took sin quite serious.  He considers sin so awful that he used the height of hyperbole to communicate that radical, drastic, decisive action must be taken unequivocally to get rid of it.  Our Lord wanted there to be no mistake in his communication:  sin is not something to dabble in or take a shallow approach; sin must be eradicated at all costs.  The language is severe:  if your hand, foot, or eye causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better to enter life crippled or blind rather than be thrown into hell.

            Temptations will come.  What we do with them is of eternal significance.  We must get to the root of the sin, which is succumbing to temptation, and re-arrange our lives or alter our schedules in a radical way in order to remove putting ourselves in a position to sin.  Solid daily spiritual habits of Scripture reading and prayer; time for sleep and rest; attention to Sabbath; and, a regular exercise regimen are all ways to help ensure that temptation will not win the day.

            Holy God, you sent your Son to this earth to deal decisively with the world’s sin.  I choose today to walk in the forgiveness you offer through Jesus, and to avail myself of the Spirit’s power to forsake temptation in all its forms.  Amen.

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