What we focus on is going to have an impact on our heart and soul.
I was on vacation in Aruba a few years ago. If you’ve ever been there, you know that the beaches are the best part of the island. Once you get away from the beaches, it’s a grim place. The beaches of Aruba (or Florida, or California, or any other sandy shoreline) can be hazardous for guys. It’s a sad commentary on our society that modesty is in short supply these days. This is bad news for us because guys are “visual” — we are stimulated by what we see. Looking at a grilled sirloin is one thing; looking at a young lady in a string bikini is something altogether different.
The Bible gives us some insight into this matter of the eyes. Jesus said: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23, ESV). The idea here is one of focus. It’s been said that our eyes are a window into the soul, and I think there is some merit to that. I don’t think you can look into someone’s eyes and determine the condition of his or her soul (a former president tried that with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that didn’t work out well), but I do believe what we focus on is going to have an impact on our heart and soul.
We all can relate to situations where something we “saw” ultimately influenced our actions. Take David and Bathsheba. He was up on his roof and saw a woman bathing. Instead of going back inside and taking a cold shower, he kept on watching, and we all know how that ended. While we don’t have much control over what steps into our range of vision, we can control what we do next with our eyes and our thoughts. In Proverbs 4:25, we are told to “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” In Psalm 101:3a, we read this pronouncement: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” The King James Version says, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.”
We need to realize that we are engaged in a war, and the adversary of our soul will do anything that he can to knock us out of the battle. So on those occasions where we can’t do anything about what we see, we use our minds to deal with the “thoughts” we may be thinking. In II Corinthians 10, Paul is dealing with the subject of spiritual warfare, and in that context, he makes this statement in verse 5: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” When he says that we take every thought captive to obey Christ, he means that we take that thought, weigh it in the light of what we know we are called to be in Christ Jesus, and cast it aside if it doesn’t measure up. The quicker we do that, the easier it is to resist temptation.
Many temptations will come our way. While Satan cannot read my thoughts, he can observe my actions. When you go fishing, you get bait that will attract the type of fish you want to catch. Going back to David, God had made it clear that Israel’s king was not to “acquire many wives for himself” (Deuteronomy 17:17), yet David had many wives, giving Satan a pretty good idea of what bait to use to ensnare him. Though forgiven, the consequences of that action brought tremendous heartache to both him and his family.
Paul, writing to the church in Rome, said: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness” (Romans 6:12-13). When temptation comes, we have two choices — present yourself to God, or yield to sin. The sooner you take that thought captive, the easier resisting sin becomes. I’ve found that, after a while, if I’m not taking the bait, Satan goes fishing somewhere else. At the same time, I never let my guard down, as I never know when Satan is going to cast that “lure” my way one more time to see if he can get me to take the bait.
The benefit of walking “uprightly” is that I experience great joy! I am honoring my Father in Heaven and my Father is “very fond of me” (Chris Tomlin, “Captured,” “The Noise We Make” album). What say ye, Man of Valor?
Start a conversation using these share links: