If you were to ask a successful professional athlete what sets them apart from their competitors, they might say their physical superiority or exceptional talent at their sport. Some though, are successful simply because they are willing to endure more than those around them. The effort to win, no matter how hard, propels them to endure and to hope for the win.
- What is your goal for your spiritual growth and relationship with God? How far are you willing to go to see your spiritual goals achieved?
READ THE WORD: MARK 9:38-50 (ESV)
38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What effort is there to gain a reward in verse 41? Bringing someone water to live or causing someone to sin are very polarizing activities. Jesus made it clear there is no gray area.
- In verses 42-47 Jesus was interacting with the seriousness of sin. What are the examples Jesus gave for removing sin? Why did he use these particular examples?
- How do we settle for “good enough” in living with our sin rather than removing it all together?
- In Jesus’ day, salt was used mainly as a preservative, but it had to remain pure in order to fulfill its purpose. How does sin make us lose our saltiness in the world?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus taught about the gravity of sin and the importance of the fight to remove it. He desires it removed from our lives because he knows that our sin hurts and enslaves us. It makes us blind, lame, and useless. In a world where Jesus came to give sight to the blind and to make the lame walk, his comments here underscore how serious our sin really is. It would be better to live without an eye, a hand, or a foot than to be separated from God. The good news is that Jesus himself has the power to remove sin and cut it out of our hearts, through faith.
- Is there any humiliation, pain, or suffering that is preventing you from going all out to remove your sin? Talk to God about that, and ask for courage, hope, and renewed resolve.
- Thank God for the Cross and what he has done to remove sin from us through faith.
- Ask God to place you in a community to be reminded of his grace and encourage you to be free of sin.