Not a Suggestion

by Justin Smith on November 01, 2023


And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell… Mark 9:47



In a world where our eyes are constantly bombarded with images created to spark emotions of coveting, desire, and lust, purity and obedience can seem more like unattainable suggestions than actual reality. So what do we do? Is purity optional for a Christian? Is the only answer to pluck out our eyes since that’s what causes the sin? Is that really an answer? I wonder if our struggle with sin is less about our eyes and more about the condition of our hearts.

Mark 9 lays out a pretty drastic stance on sin and stumbling. Jesus says, if your hand causes you to sin cut it off, if your foot causes you to sin cut it off, and if your eye causes you to sin pluck it out for it’s better to live life this way than to find yourself living for sin and facing its consequences. Cut off your body parts to avoid sin! That’s next level. Does Jesus really want us to do that? Jesus, in no way, is encouraging self-mutilation because He is well aware of our propensity to sin…even if we had no hands, feet, or eyes…so what is He teaching? He is revealing the severity of our sin and the consequences of our compromise. I think if we were honest we’ve become so calloused to sin and compromise that we view it as “not that big of a deal”. When certain words slip out of our mouths, when certain thoughts cross our minds, when certain situations present themselves we don’t choose to consider the cost…the cost of our choices and the consequences of our sin…and this passage reminds us that sin must be avoided at all costs. Jesus reminds His hearers that coveting, stealing, lusting and other sins are truly evil and unacceptable. You have been set free from sin, so that you can choose purity and obedience! Beyond that He reminds them that following Him is about sacrifice and picking up one’s cross to truly live.



In a world where sin has become commonplace, Jesus reminds us that we are called to be holy, to choose purity, and to reject compromise. Purity is not a suggestion, and obedience is not optional. So the question stands:

What things is God asking you to “cut off”, to “pluck out”, to sacrifice in your life as you choose purity?

Maybe it’s a relationship that leads you to compromise, maybe it’s your phone that tempts you to sin, or maybe it’s a situation that leads you to stumble. May we see the severity and consequences of our sin, and may we choose sacrifice for the sake of obedience. Sacrificing for God is never easy, but it’s always worth it! May today be a day of sacrificing for Him!



Jesus, standing against sin in this world can be very difficult, but today I commit to choosing purity, obedience, and commitment to You. Give me a heart that better understands the severity of sin and the consequences of my choices that I might choose what’s righteous and good. Give me the strength to sacrifice the things that tempt me, and help me to realize that Your way is always better. In Your name, Amen!


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