Read Matthew 5:27-30. Though sin is at the root of the problems in our world today, God is most concerned with the source of that sin—for He knows that true holiness means stopping sin at its source: within the heart. Take, for example, sexual sin. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "[A]nyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). As Bible-believing Christians, we are not against sex. Rather, we believe that sexuality is a gift from God. We believe that God created sex as a beautiful gift to be shared by a husband and wife within the bounds of marriage. And yet, man perverted the good gift of sex, just as he perverts all the gifts of God.
God knows that true holiness means stopping sin at its source: within the heart.
The reason our culture is so obsessed with sex is because people want God's good gifts without God Himself. But when we disregard all of the necessary boundaries God has placed around sex, there are consequences. It's a dangerous situation to find ourselves in, which is why Jesus said, "If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away" (Matthew 5:29). Now, of course, Jesus wasn't instructing His followers to practice a form of self-mutilation. Instead, He was using Hebrew hyperbole to emphasize an important point: If there is an area where temptation comes through the eye, look away. Pretend you are blind.
Why is sexual purity so important? Because, one day, "each of us will give an account of ourselves to God" (Romans 14:12). This judgment will determine our eternal rewards. Heavenly rewards are far more important than any temporary gratification—and they last infinitely longer. It is better to accept alienation in this world, to deny immediate gratification, than to risk losing your heavenly reward.
Just as anger has to be controlled by God's power alone, so must sexual desire be controlled by the power of God at work within us. Give yourself to Him completely. Train your eye to look away from anything that will cause you to stumble. Ask for help from those in your life and from your church community. And look each day to the promises of Jesus—for He is better than anything this world has to offer.
Prayer: Father, thank You that Your power is at work within me to make me holy as You are holy. May I use Your good gifts to me as You intended and thus bear witness to Your infinite worth and wisdom as I trust You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You: WATCH NOW | LISTEN NOW