“I’d Give My Right Arm…”

Do you remember the story of Aron Ralston, the mountain climber who was hiking through a remote canyon in Utah a few years ago? He hadn’t told anyone where he was going nor was he in an area traversed by other hikers. In a terrible moment, a boulder shifted and crushed his hand, pinning him to the canyon wall. He struggled to free himself, but he couldn’t get his hand from beneath the boulder.

For six days he tried to free himself. He ran out of water. He began suffering dehydration and hypothermia. Finally he realized he would die if he didn’t do something drastic; so using a multitool device from his backpack, he began cutting off his own hand until he had cut through the flesh, through the arteries, and through the bone. He amputated his own hand. In that way he freed himself and saved his life. His story was later made into the movie 127 Hours.A lot of us watched this man being interviewed, and we wondered if we could do something that extreme, that drastic, even if our lives depended on it. I don’t know. We have no way of knowing, of course, unless we find ourselves in that kind of situation.

But there some people reading this blog that are in that kind of situation. Jesus said that if you are trapped and caught by pornography, you must take drastic action immediately. You’ve got to start gouging out your eye, as it were, and cutting off your hand. Jesus was using hyperbole rather than literal language, but He chose a dramatic hyperbole. He was telling us we have to have a sense of desperation. You have to be willing to give your right arm to be free from the tyranny of lust. You’ve got to take drastic measures to circumvent sexual temptation and sin.

Tomorrow at The Donelson Fellowship, I’m teaching from the shocking words Jesus spoke in Matthew 5:29-30: And if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your hole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members that that your whole body go into hell.

If this is an area of struggle with you, take your mind to a new level of thinking. Consider yourself trapped, pinned to the canyon wall, in mortal danger, and take whatever drastic actions are needed to be freed.

(For a complete manuscript of my sermon, Coming Clean, click here. Podcast and webcast are forthcoming.)