By Chris Denning
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been taking a look at a few things that Jesus said in scripture that can be hard to digest. Often times, we read these difficult passages and either gloss over them, explain to ourselves why He COULDN’T have meant that for US, or find other loopholes to ease our consciences.
I mean, this isn’t a concept that is foreign to us in our every day life. Husbands hear their wives ask them something, yet don’t follow through or even listen. Kids hear their parents ask them to do something, yet nothing happens.
What is the disconnect?
Why do we have the tendency to do this?
In my opinion, it comes down to comfort. We are truly creatures of habit and comfort. If we’re challenged with new information or a new way of thinking, we’re likely to not want to adjust to that. Why? Because we’re comfortable just how we are.
When it comes to the words of Jesus, I think this issue digs down to a deeper level. I believe that we have a hard time taking Jesus at his word because He calls us to something more, something great.
To put it simply, Jesus raises the bar for those who follow Him.
Think about where we’ve been so far in this series. Jesus didn’t just ask us to put him first, he told us to DENY ourselves. Jesus didn’t just say that He has to come before money, he told us that we CAN’T serve both Him and money.
And this week we’ll see that Jesus didn’t just say that lustful thoughts were harmful, but rather that just having a lustful thoughts is the same as committing adultery and prescribes some pretty hefty measures for protecting ourselves from it.
Jesus doesn’t simply inform us, he raises the bar. He calls us to something more. There is a word for this “something” that he calls us to: Holiness.
The word “holy” literally means “to set apart,” and is used a lot in the Old Testament to refer to specific items, places, times and even people for sacramental use. Essentially, to be “holy” is to be set apart for God.
I think a lot of us confuse “holy” for “perfect.” And while the two ideas do go hand in hand, I believe that the life of a Christ follower looks like pursuing Jesus through holiness, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus extending grace when we fail.
This is why when Jesus raises the bar for those who follow Him, we can trust that He has made a way for us to reach that bar. He calls us to holiness, because the Holy Spirit will empower us and Jesus will extend grace when we fall short.
This weekend, I invite you to join us as we look at the heart of the issue of Lust and talk about some VERY practical things we can do to take Jesus at His word and overcome our battle with Lust.