I had decided I didn’t want to do a whole series on Bonhoeffer’s book The Cost of Discipleship, but there is too much here to not take opportunity to hit on some very relevant topics that can be applied today just as they were when the Lord Himself declared them.  All of these “struggles” or should I say sin issues sometimes ensnare the saints as easily as they ensnare the sinner.

Matthew 5:27-30 “You have heard it that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

Are you an adulterer?  Have you noticed how impossible it is to live up to the standard that Jesus set for His followers?

This is impossible isn’t it?

Today’s culture certainly makes it as difficult as possible by placing images of sexuality every place the eye looks.  Doesn’t this seem to be harmless enough to lust after a beautiful woman, why would this be equated with adultery?

Lust – epithumeō – to set the heart upon, that is, long for (rightfully or otherwise): – covet, desire, would fain, lust (after).

Bonhoeffer writes – ADHERENCE TO JESUS allows no free rein to desire unless it be accompanied by love.  To follow Jesus means self-renunciation and absolute adherence to him, and therefore a will dominated by lust can never be allowed to do what it likes.  Even momentary desire is a barrier to the following of Jesus, and brings the whole body into hell, making us sell our heavenly birthright for a mess of pottage, and showing we lack faith in him who will reward mortification with joy a hundredfold.  Instead of trusting to the unseen, we prefer the tangible fruits of desire, and so we fall from the path of discipleship and lose touch with Jesus.  Lust is impure because it is unbelief, and therefore it is to be shunned.  No sacrifice is too great if it enables us to conquer a lust which cuts us off from Jesus.  Both eye and hand are less than Christ, and when they are used as the instruments of lust and hinder the whole body from the purity of discipleship, they must be sacrificed for the sake of him.  The gains of lust are trivial compared with the loss it brings-you forfeit your body eternally for the momentary pleasure of eye or hand.  When you have made your eye the instrument of impurity, you cannot see God with it.  Surely, at this point we must make up our minds once and for all whether Jesus means his precepts to be taken literally or figuratively, for here it is a matter of life or death.

Life or death!  Do you believe this?

Will you try and soften this teaching, or find a way to justify your “looks”.  Some will use the argument that this could be “interpreted” in some other way.  Once again the Lord draws a line in the sand to show people their sin and their need for a Savior.  He points it all back toward Himself as the only place of refuge.

The culture we live in today has placed a high priority on prostituting its women.  Even men and fathers that go to places called churches willingly allow their daughters to be the object of lust from men.

Go to a youth group meeting or a church function and look at the attire of these young women.  Does it include the shorts that ride up so high you can see more than necessary?  It’s not just the young women showing too much.  How about the ladies that are revealing themselves below the neckline?  I don’t offer this as a crude response, but for us to consider what we are telling people.  This is commonly accepted in churches and nothing is said or preached from the pulpit.  Why?

If you’ve allowed this in your family I urge you to repent and seek your daughter or wife’s forgiveness.  Then be committed to change, it won’t be easy especially for those that consider this part of the culture acceptable.  As a father of three daughters it’s not easy to find chaste and modest clothing.  We consistently struggle to live in the world but not be of the world (1 Corinthians 5:10).

Will you do something about this in your household?

If Jesus has shown you sin in your life, what can you do about it?  That’s where the act of mortification comes in.  “Cut it off”!  The act of obedience leads to faith.  You can’t have faith without obedience.  In the words of that famous theologian Bob Newhart, “STOP IT”.

Jesus was not really promoting mutilation of our bodies, but was telling us it’s time to take drastic measures.  Stop going to the places that “offend”.  Turn off the television, stop going to R-rated movies, and change your homepage.  Do whatever it takes to turn your eyes from sin.  Place your faith in Christ, turn from sin and be healed.  Stop selling your soul to every woman that walks past you and stop selling your daughter or wife to the gaze of any man that comes along.



Role reversal, the new normal?

role-reversalI believe gender role reversal is the new normal.  Just look around.  You are subtlety being brainwashed into believing a stay at home dad and working mom are entirely normal and everything is just wonderful if this is the way you choose to live.  The days of Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet are done.

If you think I’m being too harsh with the term brainwash turn on your television and see how many families you see living out a traditional familial structure; the man working and supporting the family and the wife staying home to care for the children.  Carefully observe ads that you see and run those through the filter of God’s Word.

I grew up in a family where my dad understood hard work.  I never remember my dad not working and I more often remember how hard he worked to provide.  My mom worked on a very limited basis but was always there when we came home from school.  What’s this world trying to get people to buy into and if you are a Believer are you buying into it?

I’ve recently seen two commercials that I believe illustrate my point quite nicely.  In a new Tide commercial we have a man extolling the virtues of being a man that can fold laundry perfectly and all the things that any woman could do.  Yet he is also manly enough to do pull-ups and crunches at the end of the commercial.  It’s a very catchy commercial and you might even find yourself chuckling at this.

In the second commercial we see an attractive and nicely dressed woman in her power suit instructing these working men how to build a house, or so it seems.  She is the authority in this scene as she points to the blueprints, they look at her with interest and nod their heads in agreement to whatever she is telling them.  These poor guys would be lost without her instructions or so this leads us to believe.  The message is loud and clear, she is in charge.  Note: I couldn’t find this one.

God designed men and women differently for good reasons.  It’s not accidental that men are more equipped for hard work and women are more nurturing with children.  If you bring a baby into a room of men they will probably look at the baby and go back to their conversation.  Do the same thing in a room full of women and they will be drawn to that baby like flies to a dead carcass.

So when did all this change begin?  Some will say the sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s but if you look closely you can see examples of this throughout history.  Let’s look at when it really began.

Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

God’s design was for man to tend the garden, to be a worker.

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Woman is to be a helper, her job is to assist the man, this seems to be very straight forward and clear cut to me.  Man and Woman striving together for a cause.   See also Titus 2:3-8 for instructions for men and women.

So what happened when did this go wrong?

Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Ladies do you have a desire to control and rule over your husband?  If so, God told us this would happen, I doubt any of you would dispute that you have pain in child birth.

Men your natural reaction will be either to show her who’s boss or to allow her to lead to avoid the turmoil that comes when you try to assume leadership.  This is the natural outgrowth of sin.

We can go all the way back to the beginning to see the cause of this today.  It’s simple.  When sinful man or woman listens to the lies they end up in disobedience to God’s design.  We just happen to see that today it is getting more in your face.

God also told us this would happen.

Romans 1:21because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.      

The world will tell you that having a man work and wife staying at home to raise children is just not fulfilling enough.  There’s more out there for you if you are a smart and intelligent woman and you can earn more than the husband or the man, do it.  It’s a lie and if you are struggling to identify your role I pray you can find peace and solace in the only source of truth, God’s Word.

I recently knew a couple that seemed to have a good marriage with two nice boys.  He raised the kids while she went off to work.  The man enjoyed yard work and gardening, kind of like Adam, but he also worked out.  He was a big guy.  It seems while hanging around the gym he became attracted to another woman and before long the marriage was done.  It’s heartbreaking for me to see those boys and wonder how their lives will turn out because of decisions this man made.

Will this happen in all cases of a woman working?  Of course not; affairs happen when men work because of the ravages of sin but there is peace in God’s plan and His design, but that is foolishness to most (1 Corinthians 1:18).