"If your right eye causes you to sin, 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. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."
When it comes to lust, God prescribes a severe operation. That's because if we don't deal severely with lust, then a glance becomes a gaze. Something we would dare not touch before, becomes something we brazenly handle. The result? A seared conscience that mistakes evil for good and good for evil.
Putting away lustful thoughts is so painful. Pulling your eyes away from sensual images is incredibly difficult. Slamming the door on an unhealthy relationship seems impossible to do. In fact, doing away with such sin is so excruciating that when you do it, it feels as though you are losing a part of yourself. The pain is so severe that it feels like you are gouging out your eye, or cutting off you hand. But it must be done.
And, oh, the peace and joy that result! We would take giant steps forward in our fellowship with the Lord if we would but take our eyes and hands off what is not permitted and place our eyes on Jesus and our hands on His Word.
It could be a magazine. The wife of a friend at church. The husband of a neighbor. It could be a certain section in the video rental shop. A television show. Or, maybe it's the world of your daydreams. Keep a constant watch over your heart ... suppress the first rising of temptation ... avoid the occasions of sin ... decline the company of those who are a snare ... keep out of harm's way.
Father, even when it comes to things that are lawful in my life, help me to limit them if I find them to be a temptation. May I walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.