The Stakes Couldn't be Higher
“For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4)
In my last post “I’d leave my wife for her”, I discussed the issues I battle in my heart. I wrote about how Jesus took things further than the law saying that if a man looks at a woman with lustful intent (not only the unlawful act of physical intercourse), he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Now I want to address what Jesus said directly after this: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it way. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5: 29). Before we reach for a screw-driver, let’s pause and realize that Jesus is not literally saying that we need to rip out our right eye. If he did, wouldn’t he tell us to take out the left eye too? Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take time to let this warning from Jesus sink in. Which is: the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Think about King Solomon for a minute. He had everything going for him. He was the son of David. He was anointed King of Israel. God answered his prayers for wisdom and discernment and this resulted in him becoming extremely blessed with great wealth, prosperity and influence. Reading how his life began, we’d think that he would have finished like his father did. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, we learn that Solomon established political alliances by marrying the daughters of foreign kings, something God forbid. This was a common practice in ancient times and still takes place in some cultures around the world. The Bible says that “King Solomon loved many foreign women” (1 Kings 11:1). In total, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
That’s an incredible number to think about. And if I’m honest, there’s something appealing here. We could say that he had everything a guy could want: power, wealth, influence and women. But, we also have to consider that his choice to love many foreign women ultimately cost him everything. What’s my point? That if the heart of Solomon could be turned from God, the same thing could happen to me. That’s heavy, I know. And that’s why I believe the stakes couldn’t be higher. Jesus tells us that lust can destroy our souls. That’s why he warns us to get serious about it and do everything we can to protect our souls from it. That’s his point about ripping our “right eye” out because it’s better to do that than have our whole body be thrown into hell!
So, what does that mean for a guy or girl in this lust drenched generation? I believe it means that we must take radical steps in our lives to protect against the power of lust. Meaning: if my smart phone causes me to lust and it’s turning my heart from God, then get rid of it. If vacations to the beach cause me to sin, then stop going. If a group of friends causes me to want the lust of this world more than the presence of God, then find a new group to roll with. If I’m distracted by all the yoga pants and short skirts at church, then sit in the front row and close my eyes and worship Jesus like I’ve never worshipped him before!
In conclusion, my point is not legalism, nor is it only behavior modification. My purpose in writing this post is to warn people from my personal experience. Left unchecked, lust can turn our hearts from God. Believe me, I was dangerously close. Lust is not something to play around with and we are no match for it. But there is a solution: Jesus Christ. He loved me and set me free from the powers of lust in my life, at great personal cost to himself, so that I can make a big deal out of him. Now I’m focused on sharing my story with as many people as I can, because the stakes couldn’t be higher. And I think lust is silently strangling more people than we dare to imagine. It’s time for our hearts to turn back to God.