I was driving in the rain and noticed flashes of light out of the corner of my eye. At first, I thought there was lightning accompanying the rain, but then I realized there was no thunder. The flashes of light were always in the same spot, and they continued even after I was back at home and inside the house. These flashes were happening within my right eye. The eye doctor confirmed that this is quite common among people my age, and so far my eyesight has not been impaired.
Eyesight is something we can take for granted. If we lose it, our lifestyle is impacted in every way – no more driving, and we have to learn new ways of doing practically everything from reading to cooking to walking without injuring ourselves or someone else. Eyesight is precious for our physical lives, but also vital to our spiritual lives.
What we see, where we gaze, matters.
In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus says, “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!” He goes on to say, “And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire” (Matthew 18:9).
What we see, where we gaze, matters to us eternally.
How can we prevent our eye from causing us to sin? Filling us with darkness? Landing us in the hell of fire?
The Psalmist wrote, “My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net” (Psalm 25:15). God is the one who is able to rescue us from sin, darkness, and Hell. He does this when we look “to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), who is the “Light of the world.” Jesus said, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
As a follower of Christ, what we see, where we gaze, still matters.
We are assured of eternal salvation, but we can still fall into temptation, marring our testimony and our effectiveness in God’s work. We need to guard against this. One way is to be like Job, who said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman” (Job 31:1). A covenant is a solemn, binding agreement, so if he broke this promise, he would be obligated to gouge out his eyes!
Like Job, we should purpose in our hearts not to look at people in a way which will lead to impure thoughts and sinful actions. In addition, the things we watch and read can also provoke lustful thoughts and lead to all kinds of sexual sin. We are inundated with sex in the media, even in commercials, and it is nearly impossible to avoid seeing it. But we can still guard our hearts and minds from holding onto these images by the strength and wisdom the Lord gives us.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus in faith is the first step. When we see things which are drawing our thoughts away, we must quickly refocus our spiritual eyes on Jesus. We “fix our eyes” on Him when we prayerfully ponder His attributes and praise Him for who He is: Loving Creator, Almighty God, Prince of Peace, Bountiful Provider, Protector, Avenger, Righteous Judge, Compassionate Savior, Gentle Shepherd, etc. We offer Him praises, and we bring our weaknesses before Him, seeking His help. Here is a prayer from Psalm 119:18, 37: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law…. Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways.” When we pray His Word back to Him, we can be sure He will answer! He always answers in accordance with His will and His Word, in His perfect time and in His own way.
In addition to praying, we need to fill our minds with His Word. Think about the plethora of images flooding our screens on any given day. Some things we choose to watch and others pop-up unexpectedly, and it is impossible to “unsee” something once we’ve seen it. So, how can we take those thoughts captive and make them obey Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5)? By meditating on His Word. “I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways” (Psalm 119:15). “The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:8).
The Lord enlightens our eyes – He gives us wisdom. Another very wise way to guard our eyes is through accountability within the Body of Christ. We can help each other! For example, my husband and I have each other’s passwords for all of our various accounts and websites. We know someone else has access to the sites we visit and what we are watching. We don’t clear our browser history to hide our digital footprints. We hold each other accountable because we love each other and want God’s best for each other.
If you’re not married, you can ask your Christian friends to hold you accountable. Let them sit at your computer or hold your phone and look at the history of websites you’ve visited. Ask them to pray for you when you feel weak and are tempted to watch something you know you shouldn’t. If you really struggle with what you watch, you can commit to stream movies and TV shows only when someone else is with you. God placed us in a Body of Believers because He didn’t intend for us to be isolated loners. Ask Him to show you who in your life would be an effective and trustworthy accountability partner.
What we see, where we gaze, matters to us eternally.
Will you seek out someone to hold you accountable to watching only those things which will be beneficial? Will you pray and ask the Lord to refocus your thoughts when they’re led astray by something you’ve already seen? Will you commit to prayerfully meditate on His Word so your mind will be filled with truth? The eye is the lamp of the body. If we want our whole body to be full of light, we must look to Jesus!