WHAT IS MY “TWINKIE”?

MATTHEW 5:29-30: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (NKJV)

OBSERVATION: This is a difficult verse! It follows Jesus’ admonition that to look at a woman lustfully is the same as committing adultery with her. Taken out of context, and without the background of understanding the nature of Jesus Christ, one could wonder what He is actually trying to say. Pluck out your eye? Cut off your hand? Let one of your members perish? In some cultures today they still do cut off the hand of a thief who is caught. Is this what Jesus is calling us to do?

As I read these verses again I am reminded of another Scripture that gives us some perspective on what Jesus was conveying in this teaching. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us,

  • “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

These verses in Hebrews follow the great “Hall of Faith” chapter. In Hebrews 11 we read of all the saints who preceded us and overcame great adversity and temptation – by grace through faith. They eschewed the temptations of sin for a season that they might embrace the promises of God. They did this by laying aside every weight and the sin that so easily trips us up on the way.

This is what Jesus is teaching in these verses from the Sermon on the Mount. He uses the teaching method of hyperbole. This is to make an extreme exaggeration to emphasize an important point. Jesus was not advocating the dismembering of one’s members to avoid sin. Jesus was calling us to lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us. This is very practical and dynamic advice. It is the advice that is so often overlooked and forgotten. It is the difference between walking in victory or continuing in a destructive cycle of sin.

I have witnessed in my life, and in countless lives of others, the futility of receiving forgiveness, and then neglecting to remove the things that caused me to stumble in the first place. I often use a silly example to drive home this point.

Say for example that my problem is eating too many twinkies. I know that twinkies are bad for my health. I know that eating too many will cause me to gain weight and will wreck havoc with my sugar levels. Yet, I can’t control my urge. I do good for a while, and then I binge on those sweet golden cakes! Repenting, I put away the twinkies and try again. Yet, I do not get rid of all the twinkies in my life. There is still a box in my freezer that I tell myself is just to remind me of my struggle. Each day I look at them and rejoice in my victory. Everything is good until, in a moment of weakness, I break into that box in my freezer and – the cycle begins. I find myself lingering in the grocery isle just to see if anyone else has a problem with twinkies, and if they are still on the shelf. I have done everything I can to be forgiven and overcome my twinkie obsession – except remove twinkies completely from my life!

Jesus is driving home this point. It is better to go through life without the thing that keeps tripping us up, then to remain in a continual cycle of defeat. And, the ultimate warning is for those who allow something temporal in this life, to keep them from entering into eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul. The Psalmist so aptly writes – “It is better to be a doorkeeper in the House of God than to dwell in tents of wickedness.”

So this morning, the question I need to ask myself is – “What is my “twinkie”? There is nothing in this life worth keeping me from running the race that is set before me. There is nothing worth holding onto in this life that keeps me in a continual state of brokenness. Lord, grant me the grace today to look unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of my faith. Let me lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily trips me up. Let me lay my “twinkie” upon the altar and live in the power of Your Spirit!

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is pastor of The Fellowship at Weatherford, a Foursquare Church in Weatherford, Texas. He has developed an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information please send an email to klzehnder@aol.com
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