We’ve all seen the seeds of sin left to grow into a raging inferno that destroys people, and families, and communities.
As a people, we’ve argued about just what laws we need as a society.
As Christians, we believe those laws should be biblically based. But let’s remember, unless hearts change, laws can only ever do so much.
Jesus came to fulfill the law, but even more, to change hearts to new hearts that do not allow sin to reside and grow.
This is why many believe the hope for our nation’s troubles will not come from the government but from the Church fulfilling the Great Commission and making heart-changed disciples who do not allow sin to reign in their lives.
In Matt 5:21-30, Jesus gives examples of how we are to seek to root out sin in our hearts before it is allowed to grow into outward action.
He talks specifically about two common emotions—anger (that can grow into murder) and lust (that can grow into adultery and other sexual sins).
And if we are honest, we all know how it feels to have emotions like these consume us and control us, then hurt us and others. We see the devastation of these sins on our entire nation.
Jesus’ teachings compel us to get to the root of sin and not let it reside in our hearts so that we can walk in true freedom.
In the Sermon on the Mount, He talks about anger (Matt 5:21-26) —“Jesus forbids for ever the anger which broods, the anger which will not forget, the anger which refuses to be pacified, the anger which seeks revenge.” (Barclay, commentary)
The Enduring Word app says, “Jesus commands us to quickly settle anger and malice with another. When we ignore it or pass it off, it genuinely imprisons us.”
Can you imagine how many shootings could have been prevented had anger been stopped in its tracks before it raged into the destruction of others?
This is also true for lust (see Matt 5:27-30) and other sins —they start in the heart (in our thoughts).
But when we take these thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, when we extinguish the fiery arrows of the evil one, when we do things like pray for our enemies instead of seeking revenge —when we do as Jesus tells us—we can walk in true freedom. And we are all better off!
For the mind controlled by the flesh is death but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom 8:6).
Oh friend, let’s choose the way of life and peace!
Let’s seek to root out sin and obey the Lord with all our hearts. Let’s pray for the Spirit to fan the flame of revival in our own hearts and in our world!