Matthew 5:29


Jesus knew that entrapment to sin is an ever-present temptation with serious consequences.  He said:  “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29, English Standard Version).

Many  enticements to sin come through the eye. The things we read, the movies we watch, the clothes (or lack of clothing) we notice can live on and on in our minds.  How are we to overcome such temptations?

Some people have moved to a different city to get away from seeing what pulled them down in the last location, but temptations of the eyes followed them to the new location.  Some have promised God they would never fall for visual temptations again, but these promises are easily broken. Here are some practical steps to protect ourselves from the temptations that come through our eyes.  

First,  we need to make deliberate decisions to stay away from circumstances where we will be likely to slip back into our old way of life. If we have a weakness for lust we need to avoid being around sexually graphic images. “I made a covenant with my eye not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1, New International Version)

Second, we must devote our lives to doing good deeds and acts of kindness. Experience teaches us that “idle hands are a devil’s workshop”.  When we start doing good things for God and others we do not have much time or energy to get into spiritual trouble. Imitate our Lord Jesus who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38)

Third, let us deliberately focus on wholesome thoughts — reading and meditating on things that are “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable” (Philippians 4:6).  Jesus said: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19). The scriptures are full of healthy words and pure visual images that will enforce our resolve to overcome things that ensnare us.

Finally,  our prayers must be times of praise and thanksgiving for blessings we have received, rather than simply confessing our weaknesses, vulnerabilities and guilt. Confession of sins is important but if failure is the primarily focus of prayer it is not sufficient to build us up. Counting our blessings helps us be humble and instills a positive mind-set that helps grow spiritually. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpassses all understading, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

When Jesus spoke about tearing out our “right eye” and “throwing it away,” He did not intend for us to literally inflict pain and harm on our bodies, but to motivate us to make serious efforts overcoming temptations of the heart.  He meant for us to concentrate on how we can “crush Satan under our feet” (Romans 16:20). It was not a casual resistance to temptation but a definite resolve not to fall. Living in a way where “the whole body will be throw into hell” is too great a price to pay for taking enticements of our eyes lightly.

About davidtarbet1

Minister of Evangelism, Church of Christ, New Milford, Connecticut nmchurchofchrist.org Editor: Christ for Today christfortoday.org Director, The White Rock Fund, Dallas, Texas whiterockfund.org
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  1. Gary Hohenstein says:

    This was an interesting discussion.

  2. Tommy South says:

    David: Excellent article, and badly needed. Thanks for posting and sharing it. God bless.

  3. Paulette England says:

    Thanks so much, Brother David for your wisdom in sharing this. You are a blessing!

  4. Brother David Tarbet Thankful for this much-needed lesson. My mother’s motto was to stay busy helping others. In Puerto Rico, she grew up helping in her parents ‘Bodega-store’. During ‘Huracans-Hurricanes, she was taught to fill a bag with food and hand-sewn clothing to the families whose fathers, my grandfather would give work in his sugarcane fields. Subsequently, no one left our home without a bag full of needs and a word of advice~’Eyes on Christo’~’Ojos en Christo’ and a ‘Go with God’~’Vaja con Dios’ to follow. She had a small room with her sewing machine, catholic praying altar, a sofa-bed[image: 11025131_10153168861006934_9219540340838000535_n.jpg] for grandson’s Christmas Eve sleepovers, and a wall full of ‘On the go needs’ with a package of bags to fill and give to the company leaving after a visit. Visualizing was a God sent to my Parent coming to America. We learned at home by them telling us ‘See!’-‘Viste!’. Show and tell was a staple in our ‘Home’-‘Casa’. So the TV like in all American homes was a learning tool as they watched in the background approving or disapproving of what was being viewed and using it as a learning tool. I won’t keep you any longer. Hope all is well with Paula and your family with which God has truly blessed you. Andy always admired your fortitude and Joy for life with each other. God be with you all till we meet again. Sincerely in all gratitude, Sister Ana Harshaw 2/7/23 AD. (Please pray for my son Joseph Chappel, Wife Rebekah and sons David William and Joseph Andrew to be restore back to our Lord’s church…much appreciate it). Ana.

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