ROOTED - Thursday, July 11, 2024

Matthew 5:26-29
 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.


Reflection: Whack-a-mole part 3
The dreaded whack-a-mole technique for being successful in the Christian life! Per our last rooted, note that when we take a sin (in the analogy the mole is a sin rearing its ugly head) and try to knock it down (without considering the character beneath) we surely will continue to see moles pop up. In doing so, we become like the pharisee treating sin management as the key strategy for being righteous. In Matthew 5-7 Jesus contrasts the righteousness of the pharisees with “His righteousness.” One is externalism, and one is “inside out character transformation.” Matthew 5:26-29 demonstrates the contrast in method. The pharisee believes that adultery (the external act) is the problem. Jesus illustrates that the action is just the symptom of a heart problem: lust. I believe Jesus then demonstrates the ludicrous thought process of the pharisee. The pharisee’s strategy goes something like this: if adultery is the problem, and lust is akin to it, then I will poke my eyes out so I can’t lust. Stupid! If you do that you are just treating the heart problem with an external solution… and worse, you have not taken care of the problem. That is, you can be blind and still have a heart full of lust, can you not?
So how do we tackle this problem? Spiritual discipline! This is the key, and missing, ingredient for Christian success… in my humble opinion. You must do things (pray, read and study scripture, fast, worship, serve, sacrifice, practice solitude and silence… anything Jesus did) that are like “spiritual exercises.” You don’t do them because they are themselves godliness, but you do them as exercises and a means to godliness. I contend that the more spiritually disciplined you are, the more God changes you from the inside out, in time, such that your character begins to change. I contend that godly people are not the ones that try harder but are the ones that are the most disciplined. I contend, then, that disciplined people become the kinds of people that, over time, desire less to live unrighteously, and therefore, over time, naturally live a righteous life. They put on the character of Christ. So… be disciplined in your walk with God.


Lord, help us to see the need of spiritual disciplines and dispatch of the pharisaical way of living the Christian life. May we put on your character in full measure.