As we live life, we naturally become accustomed to our ways. Habits form; routines set in. And frankly, we become comfortable with our lives. Even if we don’t necessarily like everything about our lives, we are used to it and any change will disrupt the pattern we’ve adapted to. We are focused on our present circumstances.
The disciples were a lot like us in that regard. They had traveled the country side with Jesus. In Mark 9, as they traveled, Jesus’ mind was on the eternal as he shared with them what was to come.
However, instead of reflecting on what Jesus said to them, they argued. They fussed about who would be the greatest in the kingdom and who had authority to use the name of Jesus. Their thoughts were on the present earthly situations, not an eternal Kingdom.
Finally, they stopped for the night and Jesus continued to share His eternal perspective. With a child in His arms, He said:
“But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out’” (Mark 9:43-48 NLT).
My friends, Jesus spelled it out for the disciples, and for us. We are to be more concerned about our eternal lives, than this temporal life we presently live.
The hand could very well represent the things we do. If what we do causes us to sin, then we need to cut that activity out of our lives.
The foot may represent the places we go. If the places we go causes us to sin, we need to stay away from there.
The eyes may represent what we choose to watch. If what we see leads us into sin, then we need to keep our eyes from watching those things.
When my son landed in prison, I felt devastated. It was not the life I desired for my son and our family. But God showed me how He answered my prayer. I prayed that my son would love the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind. God knew what it would take for my son to surrender his life to Him. My son’s freedom, the use of his hands, feet, and eyes in society, was removed for a season so he would be kept from choosing a life that would keep him eternally separated from the Kingdom of God. My son’s spirit is free in Christ. Now I know if Jesus returns today, or if tomorrow doesn’t come for any of us, we will be reunited in the heavenly kingdom.
Painful discipline may be required to keep us from continuing in a life of sin, but that discipline keeps us from being thrown into a place “where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out!”
Sometimes we need to examine our routines and habits as they can become too focused on the present, and we seldom pause to reflect about the eternal. If our choices keep us from entering the Kingdom of God and keeps others out too, then (figuratively speaking) it will be better to go without a hand, foot, or eye in order to enter the heavenly Kingdom.
Let’s listen to Jesus and reflect on the eternal perspective.
© 2013 Shonda Savage