Lust of the Eyes–Part I

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“Your eye is the lamp of your body,” said Jesus Christ (see Luke 11:34-36). What did Jesus mean by this? It simply means that the eye is the gateway through which we get our first impressions about people and the world around us. It is the most important entry point with which we understand our world around us.

In times past when there were great fortresses the main gate to it was heavily guarded. There were lookouts posted on high points on top of the fort as well as inside the city to see the approach of the enemy from afar. We would do well to learn a lesson from it. So let us also guard our main entry point carefully.

For men, the eye can be the entry point of great temptations. The Bible abounds with warnings and examples about this. Those who want to give excuses, there are plenty of them. But are these circumstances that causes the problem? Certainly not. Even though it is wise to run away from sources of temptation like how Joseph did (Genesis 39:15), it is foolishness to blame these sources.

Jesus clearly said that sexual immorality and adultery comes from within our heart and make us unclean (Mark 7:20, 21). Jeremiah too said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). James adds that each one of us is tempted by our own evil desire (James 1:14). So the responsibility is ours alone. Do not blame women or pressure from your friends or circumstances that led you to sin. You alone are responsible; for sin is against God (see Genesis 39:9 and Psalm 51:4).

But those who want to please their Father in heaven, there is a way out. Sometimes the struggle takes long years until we let go of our self-righteousness (the claim that I am perfect; but all others are sinners) and hypocrisy and cry out to God in our helplessness. Those who humble themselves thus before God gets help from the Almighty. There should be within our heart a great longing to have a pure heart.

This was the cry of David after he was convicted by God that he had committed adultery. He cried out, “Create in me a pure heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10). He had not been able to control his lust when he fed it by looking at a woman bathing. So David understood that his heart was full of wickedness and patchwork could not be repair it. God had to create in him a new heart.

Some people think that lust is a modern problem. It is far from the truth. The book of Job is considered to be one of the earliest books to be written. In that book, Job says he made a covenant (agreement) with his eyes not to look lustfully at a woman (31:1). Remember Job was not young when he said this. He was an aged man, was married and had grown up children (who all died). So it points out that even aged people and married men can struggle with lust. Job’s secret was that he made an agreement with his eyes. So also let us do.

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