47 “And if your eye causes you to sin, 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 (NIV)
When it comes to matters of personal conduct, preparation and performance, here’s a plateful of probing, beneficial questions…
Are you tough enough on yourself? Are you tough enough to say “No” to yourself? Are you tough enough to say to yourself, “No, not acceptable. Do it again, right, better”? Are you tough enough to not wait for someone else’s discipline, applying it to yourself? Are you finding the right balance in what’s enough and what’s too far? Are you tough enough to call personal sin “sin” and then do something about it? As you enter a new day, are you prepared to fight as hard as necessary to guarantee future wins?
Athlete, good discipline produces great freedom. Freedom in the future hinges on discipline now.
In Mark 9:42-48, Jesus challenges us to be tough on ourselves, for our own good. He wants us entering God’s kingdom for sure, but He wants us going in (not down) swinging, striving as victors, fighting like victors -- disciplined and tough now, not just established as victors in the end. He wants both. He says it’s better that way. He’d rather we learn to be tough on ourselves than for Him to apply all the toughness. What kind of person would only allow another to apply the heat? Isn’t discipline applied by self a better way to live?
That’s why Jesus said it’s better to pluck out your own eye if it’s causing you to sin than leave it unaddressed and let another apply the discipline, doing the removal. Athlete, take sin seriously. Apply some heat, some urgency and get tough. It’s a much better way to live.
Prayer to consider today: O LORD, thank You for showing me what real toughness looks like in Christ. May I, through Your Spirit, become like Him. Help me to deal with matters of personal sin. Fix my eyes on You and this better way to live!