Modestly Dressed, by Mitch Davis (04/28/2013)

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Does the New Testament reveal a law(s) constituting what “modestly dressed” looks like or is the standard the hidden person of the heart?

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Lust is the Problem

I don’t know how many times I’ve read Matthew 5:27-30 and I’ve always seen it as a simple condemnation of sexual lust. I wonder if there isn’t something more here as well.

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

No doubt, there is a condemnation of lust in this passage. If we lust after someone sexually, we may think we can say, “Oh, but at least I didn’t actually commit sexual immorality with them,” but we have already taken that action in our hearts. We have already violated God’s will.

However, I think there might be something more here. Not just a simple condemnation. Is it possible there is a warning in this passage as well? 

I can’t help but remember the time my wife and I decided we were going to go look at some new cars with the commitment that we weren’t going to buy anything. We headed out at 5 pm. By 9 pm we were pulling up to a friend’s house to show them our new car. What happened? The fact is, we had already bought a new car in our hearts. All that was left was to go through the motions to do it in reality. 

Many Christians know they should steer clear of pornography, adultery, homosexuality, or other kinds of sexual immorality. However, they think they can control and enjoy their lust. They think they can fill their hearts with all kinds of sexual thoughts and never actually act out on it. Some are even Christians who have physically committed those other sins and are trying to stop, but they think they can continue to stare at their eye-candy and allow mental fantasies to take place. They keep wondering why they can’t stop their sinful behaviors.

Perhaps Jesus’ point is more than just a condemnation. It is a warning. Lust is the problem. If you’ve already committed adultery with someone in your heart over and over again, guess what is likely to happen when the opportunity arises. You’ll likely commit adultery with them in your bed. 

I learned a long time ago that I can’t say, “I’m just going to go look at new cars, I won’t buy one.” Perhaps we all need to learn the same thing about immorality. “I’m just going to look at and think about that person sexually, I’m not going to do anything with them,” probably won’t work either.

Lust is the problem. Start working there.

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The Devil Bit My Finger

The following video is one of the most watched videos on youtube. With over 77 million views plus many others having copied the video and reaching into the hundreds of thousands, even you have probably already seen what happened when Charlie bit his brother’s finger.

I’ve watched this video over and again because it is just so funny. However, it hit me that this little bit of humor is much like us in really not so funny moments. What makes this video funny is you can almost see it coming. The older brother thinks its funny to let his brother bite his finger. But then Charlie latches on and won’t let go. The older brother hollers and screams and then complains about how much it hurts, but we all know if he didn’t want to get hurt, he shouldn’t have stuck his finger in Charlie’s mouth to begin with.

I’ve done that very thing. Actually, I’ve done it literally with my kids. It’s fun to let them chew on your finger until those teeth come through and one day they clamp down. However, I’ve also done it figuratively with the devil. In Romans 13:14, Paul warns us not to make provision for the lust of the flesh to gratify its desires. 

Sadly, I’ve done that. Have you? It reminds me of the preacher who wanted to lose weight and had sworn off donuts. But he kept taking the route to his office that passed by the donut shop. One day, he explained that he asked God, “God, if you want me to get a donut today, just make sure the parking space right in front of the door is open.” He then explained, “On my eighth time around the block, guess what, it was open.”

I don’t know of any people who woke up in the morning and said, “Today, I think I’m just going to sin big time.” Instead, they simply put their finger in the devil’s mouth, thinking it won’t be a big deal. The problem is the devil is seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8). If you provide for the lusts of the flesh, putting your finger in the devil’s mouth, he’s going to clamp down on you and won’t let go. When it is done, you can complain about how much it hurt. You can cry and holler. But in the end, what you need to learn is just not to put your finger in the devil’s mouth. Don’t make provisions for the lusts of the flesh.

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