North Way Christian Community Church in Pittsburgh, PA

Week 2 – Devotional 2

READ Scripture: Matthew 5:27-30
“You have heard that it was said…” With these words, Jesus prepares to transform our understanding once again—this time on the topic of lust. As with anger, this is an area where the ancient Jews (and we along with them) prefer to be held to a low standard. We think as long as we’re not cheating on a spouse or harboring an addiction to pornography, we’re doing just fine. But Jesus wants more and better for us! Rather than merely cleaning up some of our bad behaviors, he wants us to live in true freedom from lustful thoughts. And when our mind is free, it is more open to God’s Spirit as he leads us to genuine love for those around us.

REFLECT
How would you describe the role that lust plays in your thought life?

What practical steps can you take to “tear out an eye” or “cut off a hand,” that is, to take steps to battle the temptations of lust?

What role does the Holy Spirit play in your efforts to battle temptations and struggles?

RESPOND
Identify one area of temptation where you need to take a step of faith and obedience. Share that step with someone who will pray for you this week.

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Week 2 – Devotional 3

READ Scripture: Matthew 5:33-37
Oaths don’t play a huge role in our culture, so here’s a little background. For first-century Jews, oaths were very common… but they weren’t always binding! If you swore using God’s name, you had to follow through on your word. But swearing by anything else—such as Jerusalem or your own head—was less serious and represented an “escape clause.” Jesus’ point here is that as God’s children, we shouldn’t need to add any extra assurances to what we say we’re going to do. People should always be able to trust our word. We may not share the custom of breaking oaths, but how many different excuses do we come up with when we fail to follow through?

REFLECT
To what extent do other people feel confident putting their trust in your words?

Can you think of examples of when your words lacked integrity?

RESPOND
If you thought of an example in the previous question, reach out to apologize to someone you hurt with your words.

Download Week 2 Devotional.