The Trail of Discarded Eyeballs

Every Christian should have a trail of discarded eyeballs behind them.

At least, that’s what Jesus said:

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. (Matthew 18:9)

These are hard words. Radical words. Words that make me slightly uncomfortable. If anything causes me to sin, I need to get rid of it.

We need to let these words work their way through every area of our lives. Does a television show cause me to sin? I need to stop watching it? A book? Shut it. A friendship? End it. A hobby? Kill it.

The point is, I should have a trail of discarded things that lead me in to sin behind me. Sin leads to destruction and slavery. It’s not to be played with or tolerated. It’s to be cut off. Amputated. Ripped out. Killed. So that we might have life.

Lord, help me be radical in my fight against sin.

  • http://landryglaubemann.blogspot.com Landry Glaubemann

    Amen, Stephen.
    But how it is not easy to get ride of what make us sin against God.
    In the deep of us sometime lie dormant the love to enjoy the practice of certains sin.
    It can be eating a lot, sleepiing a lot=lead to laziness,or gossip, or hate etc…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/StephenAltrogge StephenAltrogge

      Yeah you're right Landry. Each of us has particular sins or temptations to sin that present more difficulty. Those are the ones that require the most battle!

  • http://facesoflions.wordpress.com Dave Wilson

    Reminds me of a Spurgeon quote recently posted by Ray Ortlund:
    “A besetting sin is a sin that sometimes surprises a man, and then he ought to show fight and drive the besetting sin away. If I were to walk over the common every night, arm in arm with a fellow who picked my pocket, I should not say that the man ‘beset’ me. No, he and I are friends, and the robbery is only a little dodge of our own. If you go willfully into sin, or tolerate it, and say you cannot help it — well, you have to help it or you will be lost. One thing is certain — either you must conquer sin or sin will conquer you, and to be conquered by sin is everlasting death."

    Thanks for the reminder to mortify sin Stephen. Your illustration is gory, but justifiably so.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/StephenAltrogge StephenAltrogge

      Thanks for sharing that quote Dave. That's a great quote.

  • Ben

    How does this really work it self out practically? It's 100% certain that I will continue sinning in some form until the day I die. How am I to read passages like this? If I take it 100% literally then I can guarantee I won't have any eyes, arms, legs, or even a head…

    I tend towards more of an extreme mindset in everything I do. This is both good and bad in my life. If I am to cut off everything that makes me sin, I could find myself living in a dark cave….even then, I would just end up sinning by *not* doing the things I should. Like serving, helping others, etc…all in an effort to shut myself away from everything that needs to be "cut off".

    Verses like this are uncomfortable, your right. But what do we do with them? What is the real, true, God honoring way that we practice this advice ? We'd all be blind if we followed this command literally. It seems we all just say "man that makes me really uncomfortable, I'm such a sinner" and then that's it.

    I guess my question is, "What is real true plucking out of our eyes?" How does that manifest itself in our lives?

    • Miss Bonaparte

      I agree about ending up living in a dark cave. Even then, you can't stop yourself from thinking sinful thoughts! I mean you can consciously say NO I'm not going to think about that, but you can't prevent the initial thought. So what is the balance??

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/StephenAltrogge StephenAltrogge

      That's a great question Ben, and one that I think every one of us needs to wrestle with. I think the point Jesus was making is that following Him requires radical action. So that means that if some action regularly leads us into sin, we needs to take the steps necessary to cut it off. I don't think that it means we stop serving people or cut ourselves off from people, because that would be sin also. Rather, I think it means that we fight against sin and temptation to sin with everything we have. Make sense?

  • Ben

    It would seem that all of us then pluck out our eyes daily, only to just put them back in…over and over and over again. I know in my life, there are sins that have been killed and they haven't been back for years….While other sins seem to be daily occurances.

    I so often struggle with reconciling the fact that I will sin, in some way, every day until I die, with the fact that repentance is to turn from sin. If I repeat sins, doesn't that just mean I haven't repented? Or is it my continued confession and desire to be free from sin the lifestyle of repentance? I don't want to sin. No way. If I could flip a switch that would turn on 'instant 100% obedience' I would. Yet, when I do sin (lust for example) that just confirms to me that I wanted to sin in that moment. It's tough for me to understand that in day to day life.

    Where I have so much trouble is that I easily fall into the lies of satan, the accuser of the brethren. The fiery darts of "see..you haven't really repented" or "you don't really trust God" over and over again, so easily bring me down. It's a minute by minute battle sometimes for me to not fear that I'm just a big faker. When I do have some relieve from anxiety, I find it very easily to once again fear that my lack of anxiety = backsliding or some such thing.

    By God's grace I do record a journal of His working in my life. In the biggest times of struggle I do need to reflect on the clear cases of His stepping into my life. Like Paul's conversion, I have definite moments where God has intervened in my life and said "enough..you are mine". Nothing quite as dramatic as Paul of course.

    I'm so thankful that God loves me so much. That even in the midst of my worst sins He would jump in, knock me upside down and say "enough…you are mine"

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/StephenAltrogge StephenAltrogge

      I can completely understand your feeling of repenting over and over again. I really do think that's part of the Christian life. It's a battle. That's why we must daily take up our cross and follow him.

      I would also encourage you, when you begin to feel anxiety over whether you are a faker, run to the cross. That's the only place where we can find true assurance of forgiveness and power to change. The death of Christ forgives our sins, the living Christ gives us power over sin.

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

      • Miss Bonaparte

        I had a major problem with this about 2 summers ago, it made me very depressed and I started getting anxiety attacks, the whole 9 yards. I finally realized that allowing the sin to "ruin" my life like I was wasn't correct, I had to let go and forgive myself too. It's so hard to find a balance between beating yourself up and becoming complacent.