The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. Matthew 6:22
There is a dangerous battle underway for the attention of our eyes. It is subtle. It is deceptive. It is tempting. It has an allure. It is also very poisonous.
If we keep our eyes healthy, our body will be full of light. If we expose our eyes to temptation, darkness will enter our body. That’s powerful and convicting.
I read a story about a man who kept a journal for a month of every time his eyes were tempted. Whenever he became aware of a sexual image or message, he had to write it down along with his response. He began to write down the shampoo commercials when a woman soaped up, the banner ads on ESPN.com with a young woman in a low-cut top, the books on Amazon with suggestive covers right next to the innocent book he intended to see. He noticed the billboards, the sit-coms that suddenly took a sexual tone, the display ads in the mall. He found he couldn’t spend a few hours watching TV with his wife without having to jot down 12-15 times when his eyes were tempted.
In a month, he had more than 200 journal entries. Frankly I am surprised he didn’t have 2,000. But this man was very careful going into the experiment – he doesn’t watch HBO, he stays away from movies with sex scenes, he doesn’t look at pornography, he was careful to avoid websites with any hint of a sexual nature. So he was very careful and he had to write down more than 200 incidents where his eyes led to a fluttering of his heart.
That’s 200 “electronic mistresses” he flirted with in the past month. 2,400 a year. 2,400 flirtations in a year and he was being careful!
We shouldn’t want these temptations. They should pain us when we see them but when we are bombarded with such images it is quite easy to become numb to them. They become just a part of every day life. That is insidious – it is diabolical. It is the nature of our enemy. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy. These images, temptations and messages that we face 20-30-40-50 times a day are seeking to destroy.
They seek to destroy our marriage. They seek to destroy our integrity. They lead us to wonder and fantasize and compare. They seek to destroy our testimony – as I write this, I’m immediately convicted of some of the TV shows I routinely watch and I’m convicted of the glances I’ve taken at women other than my wife.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I should despise these temptations. My sin nature is drawn to them. I can’t stop them from coming at me but I can do something about my heart and what I am willing to let my eyes see. I should remember that my body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives in me. When I take crap in through my eyes, I am telling the Holy Spirit to make way for the lewd images I want in my body. I’m asking God to give up some territory in my soul for lusty images.
As much as we need to take care of our physical bodies – more so we need to guard and protect our heart and our eyes are often the gateway to the heart. If I can’t see temptation, I won’t allow it near my heart.
So the call here men is to LiveUP. To live up to a higher standard. To learn to be disgusted with the temptation. To call it out when you see it. To call Satan what he is – a liar. Those images we see on TV aren’t “real”. The billboards and magazine covers and web images are not real. They are lies. They are being presented to you to bait you into believing you too can have this. You can’t.
I know you agree. I know you remember as a kid the scary movies you saw and the images of horror and I know you realize those images are permanently burned into your psyche. Even as you read this, you remember. And we have other memories of mistakes of the past, actions and deeds on our part that if given the chance we’d give anything to “undo” and we wish we could erase those images and actions from our past.
And so it is going forward. Carefully, prayerfully guard your heart. Realize that we are in a world at war. Realize that diabolical, tricky forces are waging for your heart. Don’t let darkness in through your eyes. Covet the light. Desire only to “intake” good. You know that “junk in = junk out” – if you take in junk, you’ll produce junk. The same is true for “light in = light out” or “good in = good out”. If we take in the good and the light, we’ll produce fruit.
There is so much more to say but I’ve said enough. We fight this battle together. You were bought at a price. He gave it all – for you. He lives in your soul. He occupies your territory. Be careful – very careful – the images you invite to sit alongside The Holy One.
Pursuing Him alongside you…..