My reading continues in "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. My first post on this book considered "Cheap Grace". Today I have just finished reading about the dangers of lust, a topic I have considered before in this blog (e.g Temptation from 11/19/2008). Normally, I do not like to repeat myself, but Bonhoeffer's words really burrowed their way through my thick skull and brought home to me in a clear and definite way the costs involved.
Adherence to Jesus allows no free rein to desire unless it be accompanied by love. To follow Jesus means self-renunciation and absolute adherence to him, and therefore a will dominated by lust can never be allowed to do what it likes. Even momentary desire is a barrier to the following of Jesus, and brings the whole body into hell, making us sell our heavenly birthright for a mess of pottage, and showing that we lack faith in him who will reward mortification with joy a hundredfold. Instead of trusting to the unseen, we prefer the tangible fruits of desire, and so we fall from the path of discipleship and lose touch with Jesus. Lust is impure because it is unbelief, and therefore to be shunned. No sacrifice is too great if it enables us to conquer a lust which cuts us off from Jesus. The gains for lust are trivial compared with the loss it brings - you forfeit your body eternally for the momentary pleasure of eye or hand.
I suspect, like many of you, that I would do well to keep these words and this remembrance at hand. I simply get into too much trouble when left to myself.