June 16,

2nd Corinthians 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters:
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,”
we too believe and therefore speak,
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

God is bigger, better, and greater than everything.  Even your hardships.  I myself have been through some hardships in my life.  Some of them a little worse than your average Joe.  Some not as bad as others.  However no matter how bad some of the events in my life have been, they pale in comparison to all that Jesus endured for me and for you.  Paul is reminding us today while we will face hardships in life, God can take those hardships and turn them into something positive.  It’s the ultimate “lemons into lemonade” lesson. No matter how difficult our walk is, Jesus is there to guide us.  We just have to let him.

Matthew 5:27-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful)
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

I once heard a priest say that a little boy came to confession and confessed that he had committed adultery.  The priest was a little bit shocked because he could tell in the young man’s voice that he was a child.  So he asked the boy, “could you be a little bit more specific?  I am not sure I know what you mean”.  The little boy said that he and a friend had pretended to be adults when playing one day.  (badum-ba!)

We live in a society where media of all types saturates us with sex.  Whether it’s pornography, advertising that borders pornography, TV and movies where casual sexual activities of various forms are almost glorified, sex is everywhere.  I guess the old saying is true.  Sex sells.  Why?  Even in Jesus’s day this seemed to be a problem.  It wasn’t enough to tell us that we were not to have sexual relations outside of marriage.  No, he told us that if we even looked and thought of anyone in a lustful way, we would be committing sin.  He begins to use hyperbole in telling us that if we look lustfully at someone we should gouge out our eyes.  Logically we wouldn’t be able to use them to lust anymore.  He speaks of cutting off body parts that may cause us to sexually sin.  Jesus tells us that it’s better for us to go on without these body parts than to burn in Gehenna.  Gehenna was a real world analog to hell.  It was were the residents of Jerusalem dumped their garbage and there were constant fires there burning the garbage.  Fires that never went out.

What Jesus is really telling us is that we are to avoid sin, not embrace it.  We are to take measures that prevent us from sinning.  Meaning if we are going to go out on a Saturday night with a group of friends that will undoubtedly lead you into sinful activity, then we should avoid it.  If your friends give you a hard time about it, then maybe you need to reevaluate the nature of your relationship with these friends.  The question to ask is, are they leading me towards Christ or away?  This can be difficult, even painful to do.  I am not speaking of lust and pornography, I am speaking of all sin, and Jesus was too.

Thought for the day:  No matter how difficult a road in life can be, especially if you have to say no to friends and family remember that Jesus is there to help you if you let him.

Remember that it’s better to put up with the pain and suffering in this life than to end up in the wrong place for eternity, which happens to be a very very long time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s