Motivation For Men #12: “The Higher Standard”
“The Higher Standard”
Chapters 5 through 7 of the book of Matthew are often referred to collectively as the “Sermon on the Mount”. As I read this sermon in its entirety, I am struck by how Jesus set a higher standard for righteousness than the mere letter of the Law of Moses. To Jesus, it wasn’t enough to avoid murder; you must also avoid hatred and verbal abuse. It wasn’t enough enough to give and pray; you must do so discreetly to avoid doing it as a show to others. It wasn’t enough to avoid the act of adultery; you must also avoid letting the thought of adultery seize your heart and eyes through lust.
This does not mean the Law of Moses did not set a holy, righteous standard; far from it! The point Jesus was making is that God is after purity of heart, not simply external obedience. Part of the deception of pornography is the thought that you can enjoy the excitement of lust without having to experience the consequences of sexually immoral acts. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth, for even if you somehow avoid overt sexual acts, through your lust you will soil both your mind and your conscience, and allow a wedge to come in that drives you farther and farther from God.
What is purity of heart worth to you? Is it worth humbling yourself and getting help? Is it worth taking action to get rid of the stumbling blocks in your life? Is it worth going beyond looking good and paying the price to develop truly righteous habits and thought patterns? Is it worth spending time in God’s word and prayer not only so you can overcome, but so you can get to know the heart of the Father? Is it worth picking up your cross and following Jesus?
Only you can decide.