Thursday, July 7, 2011

MrsDrPoe: Life Isn't A Sobriety Test

Good morning all, and welcome to Theology Thursday on the blog! I hope that you'll open your Bibles with me as we once again look at some thoughts I've had from my daily Bible reading and recent studies.

As people we have to live in this world, but as Christians we are to not be of the world. A lot of times we say that without actually considering its meaning. Someone in the world will have totally opposite attitudes, behaviors, motives, etc. than someone of the world. This person who is simply in the world has a Christ-centered life; he/she has abandoned the works of the flesh for the fruit of the spirit. Not that he/she is perfect, but he/she is doing everything possible to grow closer to God.

In Matt 5:29-30, Jesus says,

----"If your right eye causes you to sin, puck it out and cast it ----from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your ----members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. ----And if you right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it ----from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your ----members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell."

These seem like pretty extreme measures, and because of that fact, we often immediately say to ourselves after reading it that "of course Jesus didn't mean this literally." And He didn't...but if we think about the things that encourage us to engage in specific sins that we may struggle with- a certain friend, a family member, a hobby, etc.- it would be just as painful to cut these people/things out of our lives as it would be to cut off our own hand. But Christ says it is beneficial for us to do so, so that we will not be cast into hell.

The easiest way to keep from sinning is to avoid the temptation in the first place, which again leads us to Jesus' advice to cast things that tempt us away. Too many times we think to ourselves, "I can go out with ___; he/she ___s but I'm strong enough not to be tempted." Even if we're not initially tempted by something, willing putting ourselves into sinful situations can cause us to gradually either become tempted to try this thing or become so accustomed to it that we don't see it how God sees it anymore. We must get rid of our temptations. For good. I believe it was our friend, Mr. B. Hall, who made the point that Jesus didn't say "pull out your eye and set it on your dresser so you can use it later," he said "pull out your eye and throw it away."

Mini Case Study: Joseph
In Gen 39, we see the story of Joseph while he was a slave in Potiphar's house. Potiphar saw that Joseph was blessed in everything that he did because God was with him, Potiphar set Joseph as overseer of the house. While Joseph lived and worked there, his master's wife asked him daily to "lie with her" and "to be with her" (v.10). Joseph declined these advances- both to commit adultery with her AND to be in her presence. In short, he avoided her.

One day, when no one else was in the house, Potiphar's wife grabbed Joseph's garment and again asked him to lie with her. Joseph's response was to run away, leaving his garment in her hand. Since she had his garment, she then proceeded to accuse Joseph of sexual assault, which lead to Potiphar sending Joseph to prison. Here, Joseph is a fantastic example of someone trying his best to avoid not just avoid sin, but to avoid even the temptation to sin.

Life is not a sobriety test. The point is not to walk the line between being pleasing to God and being pleasing to men...we should flee the temptations of the world, striving to please God with all that we are and all that we do.


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