Scripture Devotion

Cut Off Your Right Hand?

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Oswald Chambers says “there never has been a saint yet who did not have to live a maimed life. But it is, better to enter into life maimed and lovely in God’s sight than to be lovely in man’s sight and lame in God’s”
Jesus is seated on the hill overlooking Galilee teaching. But he isn’t teaching easy stuff, he is teaching the “much more” life of the Kingdom, the hard stuff. Jesus doesn’t speak about canceling the standards of the law, no he enlarged it, he went deeper. The moral standards of God were never done away with in the “grace age”. They were taken to a more full meaning. In this “sermon on the mount” Jesus says “hate=murder” and “lust=adultery”. So if our thought life is important, if our desires lead us astray, this is important stuff.
Peter taught us to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness … knowledge … self-control … perseverance … godliness … kindness … love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. If anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from the past sins. Therefore … be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure …” (2 Peter 1:5–10 NIV84)
Peter was getting us to Jesus’ point of these radical words in Matthew 5 and the sermon on the mount. Jesus says if your eyes are a problem, pluck them out. If your hand v30 causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than your whole body to go to hell. Then Jesus continues with the radical interpretation of the depth of the commands of God. So then, there are things, relationships, activities that might seem normal, even “right handed” but if they get in the way of our relationship with God, they have to go.
Really?? Would Jesus have me deny myself?
Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
ANYONE(tis)=”who, what, what sort of person” the Sort of Person that denies himself to embrace coming AFTER him
After =Jesus Denied himself according to Philippians 2. He Emptied Himself. He Employed Himself in the service of others.
So, if we will come AFTER him … we come after him cutting off what we think we need, but do not, in order to keep what we want … viz a viz HIM … being LIKE, AFTER, CONFORMED to His Image.
So, is this OPTIONAL for the Disciple this life of denial?
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not HATE his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes even his own life – he CANNOT be my disciple”
Hate(miseo)=hate, love less, disfavor
It is not saying that the way of discipleship is hatred or rejection. If they will go the way of Christ, fine … but the Way of Christ supersedes all OTHER ways, relationships, passions and purposes … Yea Even Your Own Life
Jesus continues then in Luke 14 by saying that you have to count the cost of completion before you start a building project.
So, if you are building a life of discipleship, it often involves, as Chambers puts it, personal maiming, spiritual surgery
Denial is part of the process
Matthew 5:40 says if someone wants your shirt give them your jacket too
v41 if they want you to go a mile, go another mile
v44 love your enemies, pray for your persecutors
WHY? Why should we adopt these RADICAL ways? So we will …
v48 Be Perfect, there fore as your heavenly Father is perfect
The Perfection being sought IS the Goal of Discipleship, to Look Like Jesus
It doesn’t happen magically, it happens decidedly. It comes in surrendering as a pot to the hands of the potter.
The lump of clay is not thrown on the wheel and told to “be a beautiful pot”. Jesus never worked that way with Humans. He spoke the world into existence and everything in it, but he SHAPED man with his own hands. And he still does. Yes we are “declared righteous” when we receive Christ, and positionally we are immediately. But, he is shaping us to look like him.
So that LUMP on the wheel receives the Master’s Hand and the pot begins to take shape. And so then again, in 2 Peter 1, we see picture. Verse 4 says we are participants in his divine nature … SO v5 add to your faith
“No thanks … I’m good with faith that’s enough for me …”
NO … Peter says ADD(epichoregeo) = give, supply, support – Support, supply, give to your faith … So many Christians stay in the “faith zone” and don’t ADD to it.
But the thing we are told is to ADD … but we CAN because v3 says “his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness” His Glory and Goodness provides us what we need, through who he is and what he has said, we canparticipate v4 (koinonos)=partner, a companion. We WALK with Christ, come after him, and we add to faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, love. These additions each develops the next. Faith leads to goodness, which helps have have greater knowledge of God, which leads us to self-control enabling us to persevere, which makes us more godly, leading to kindness, which finds us fully in love.
And so a pot in the hands of the potter will look up and realize we are becoming beautiful, useful, effective, and productive … Perfect for his Purpose
Cut off a hand?
To become beautiful and useful? Maybe.
To become Perfect for HIS Purpose? Gladly.

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