27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, 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. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger 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 be thrown into hell.
Matthew 5:27-30 NLT
Last Sunday we looked at Jesus’ teaching on sexuality. I’m grateful for this teaching but it does not offer much by way of practical advice for avoiding sexual temptation. I’d like to share a few thoughts on how we can respond to this teaching practically.
Jesus is advocating for extreme action when it comes to protecting our sexuality.
Jesus’ hyperbole conveys his strong feelings about the subject of sexual temptation. His high standards demand that we do more than try really hard to remain faithful to his teaching. Jesus insists that we remove things that may cause us to sin.
Protection vs Convenience
Let’s consider the challenge that technology poses to living out Jesus’ teaching. Smart phones have made life more convenient and more dangerous when it comes to sexual temptation. Among many other good things, your phone also places pornography, certain social media platforms, and dating sites at your fingertips 24 hours a day, often with no accountability to parents or a spouse.
I have software installed on my cell phone and computer that monitor my web traffic and it’s great to have another level of accountability in my life. But guess what? Sometimes it makes my life less convenient! For some reason, a Bible website that I use for sermon preparation doesn’t quite work on my computer anymore. When I installed the software on my phone, there was a glitch which duplicated every one of my contacts.
A simple observation: Jesus was aware that removing ones’ good eye or good hand will likely make life less convenient. He was okay with it! Is it protecting your soul worth some inconvenience? Jesus says, yes!
There is no “heart” filter.
All sin comes back to your heart. Sexual temptation is a symptom of a deeper issue—our broken sin nature. Unfortunately, there is no filter that can be installed on your heart. We cannot rely on our own power or even an app to avoid sin. The gospel says that we are powerless and in need of salvation. We need the Spirit to work in our hearts and minds to sanctify our desires. Don’t try to resist temptation of any kind on your own—surrender your life to Christ and rest in his ability!
Thankfully, there are apps on the market that can help filter porn, monitor social media profiles, and even help with excessive screen time issues. Covenant Eyes and Qustudio are two common ones that have been used by many to help avoid trouble. Even if sexual temptation on your phone is not a major issue for you, why not take the step to guard yourself?
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT