On Lust and Purity - By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

As I continue to read through The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and as he's moving through the Sermon on the Mount, I came across chapter 10 - Woman. In this chapter, Bonhoeffer is commenting on Matthew 5:27-32:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 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 whole 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 than that your whole body go into hell. “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (ESV)

Here are the highlights of what Bonhoeffer says:

"Adherence to Jesus allows no free rein to desire unless it accompanied by love" (pg. 131)

"Even momentary desire is a barrier to following Jesus." (pg. 131)

"Instead of trusting in the unseen, we prefer the tangible fruits of desire, as so we fall from the path of discipleship and lose touch with Jesus." (pg. 131-132)

"The gains of lust are trivial compared with the loss it brings - you forfeit your body eternally for the momentary pleasure of eye or hand." (pg. 132)

"... we are placed in position where there is no alternative but to obey. Jesus does not impose intolerable restrictions on his disciples, he does not forbid them to look at anything, but bids them to look on him." (pg. 132)

"Even our bodies belong to Christ and have their part in the life of discipleship, for they are members of his Body." (pg. 133)

"As they contemplate this body which was given for them, and as they share its life, the disciples receive strength for the chastity which Jesus requires." (pg. 134)

(All quotes taken from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer originally © 1959 and published by SCM Press Ltd.,  and again ©1995 by Touchstone a division of Simon & Schuster)

These are powerful quotes for those of us, myself included (and probably most of all), who struggle with lust and purity. My prayer for myself and those reading this is simple: that we focus on Christ. Completely. Totally. In all things.

If you haven't read this great book, you should. Get it here or here.

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