If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter into life crippled than to have two hands and go into hell, to the unquenchable fire. – Mark 9:43
Recently, a woman in our town visited the ER. She was sick and did not know what was causing it. After running a variety of tests and scans it was determined the woman was a chronic alcoholic, her liver was dying due to the amount of alcohol she was daily consuming, and she had a mass that needed to be removed.
When doctors talked to this woman and told her what was causing her illness and what she needed to do about it, she shockingly refused. She didn’t want to stop drinking. She didn’t feel like she could stop drinking. She erroneously believed she needed to drink in order to live. Drinking was as much a part of her as breathing; she just couldn’t stop. Drinking was part of her identity.
Tragically, the effects of drinking were taking a toll on her body and she needed to make drastic changes in order to stop the destruction she had started so many years ago. She needed to do what Jesus shares in Mark 9:43. She needed to cut the sin out of her life and yet, she refused. She refused to change. She refused to have surgery. She refused to deal with her sin. A few months later she died.
The sin she thought she couldn’t live without ended up taking her life.
Sin is tricky like that. It starts out as a little thing. An unhealthy thought, just one puff, a second glance, a slip of the tongue, one more drink, one more purchase, a burst of anger…
At first, it seems like nothing to be concerned about, but over time, sin begins to grow, to consume, and eventually, we begin to find our identity in it. We see it as a part of us, part of the “way they are made,” part of our personality, something we need to relax, something to take the edge off, or something we deserve.
Jesus shows us in Mark 9:43 that sin cannot be coddled but instead needs to be drastically dealt with, even “cut” out of our lives.
The disciples were surprised to hear Jesus tell them they had to deal with their sin so dramatically. Many of us today are surprised as well. If we don’t take sin seriously, it will have dire consequences for our lives.
For some of us, there are sins we live with that are wrecking our lives. Like this woman, we are refusing to deal with them. Some of us are refusing to take the actions needed to “cut them out” of our lives. Like cancer, sin has to be dealt with. If we ignore it and act like it doesn’t exist, the sin will grow and fester, move into other areas in our lives, and eventually bring death.
As Christians, we know all have sinned. Sin is something we all struggle with. We should feel no shame in admitting our struggle with sin, but we cannot dismiss our responsibility to deal with it.
Take time today to evaluate your life. Is there a sin causing destruction in your life? If so, go to Jesus and confess it to Him. Realize that He receives you in love and with grace and He wants to help you deal with the sin you are struggling with.
Because of Christ in you, you have the power to overcome sin. You can choose not to be a slave to the sin in your life any longer. You can find freedom from your sins at the foot of the cross. Turn to Jesus, reach out to a friend for accountability, and with God’s help, cut the sin out of your life. You, your family, and loved ones will be thankful you did!
Love God Greatly!
Week 4 Challenge:
What does Mark 9:43 communicate about the seriousness of sin? This week, ask God to reveal to you where He wants you to rid your life of sin. When He answers, be faithful to be obedient to do what He asks. Jesus commanded us to take sin seriously. Let’s honor His death this week by removing sin from our lives, no matter how painful or costly it may be.
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