Majoring in Life
Dealing with an issue that mostly affects guys: looking lustfully at a girl.
Scripture passages in this lesson are linked to this page for easy access.
Lesson 24: Watch Your Eyes
(A lesson mostly for guys)
Text written and copyrighted © 2002 by Manfred Koehler. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)
He stared into the flickering firelight, mouth set in grim determination. Two more tears trickled past his nose as he watched the flames devour the magazine's pages.
That evil mag. As another page curled into black, a picture of glistening skin surfaced, its temptation clearly displayed in spite of the flames. Stabbing the last pages with the poker, he willed the flames to hurry. Then, choking back a sob, he averted his eyes. Don't look at another one!
Too late. The sensuous image had seared itself into his memory banks. He closed his eyes and saw her in spite of the dark. Dropping the poker, he crushed two fists against his eyes, determined to squeeze the image out of existence.
He watched as she laughed.
With a long sigh, he gazed back into the flames. If only I didn't have eyes!
The answering thought came, clear and gentle: If only you'd point them at my Son.
"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl" (Job 31:1). I'm not sure about old Job, but I've made a thousand of those promises.
Where to Look?
It started in high school—and it didn't completely go away when I went to Bible college. In my day girls wore jeans so tight that they had to use grease to get them on. Walking through North Park High's crowded halls, I fought to keep my eyes at shoulder level. But that was dangerous. Some of their low-cut sweaters dared me to peek. So I'd aim my eyes higher and concentrate on girls' faces instead. That had its pitfalls, too. Many of them had beautiful eyes. Occasionally they pointed in my direction, along with a smile. Then I was in big trouble.
As a follower of Christ, I couldn't get involved. Romance with someone who didn't love Jesus would have been foolishly blind and against God's clear command: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:14). I never chased such a relationship, but I desperately wanted to.
Girls weren't my only eye problem. As one of a handful of Christians in a student body of seventeen hundred, I put up with some ridicule for my faith. It was no big deal, but at the time I thought it was.
In an attempt to ward off snide remarks, I lifted weights and walked as if my chest and chin were fighting for first place. Along with my gorilla walk came my best attempt at a cool gaze, my eyes half closed, determined not to react to anything—even a stupid comment from some subspecies football jock.
That only lasted a few months. God got my attention with his Word:
"You bring low those whose eyes are haughty" (Psalm 18:27).
I decided looking friendly was a better choice.
Looking at Myself
I loved sports. I played a tough match of tennis and a harder game of soccer. But it was in math and science that I really excelled. I once had a teacher say, “Today we're going to have a math competition—Manfred versus the rest of the class.” Another time my physics instructor asked me to teach a chapter of our textbook that he himself didn't understand. When I finished, three fellow students told me to keep the teacher's job.
It wasn't bad to be smart, but it shouldn't have gone to my head. "Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight" (Isaiah 5:21). On that count, I failed big time. Looking in the mirror, I thought I was God's gift to the universe. What a joke.
Trouble Everywhere I Look
I'm struck by how much this world is full of stuff my eyes need to avoid: trash videos, sexy billboards, junk magazines, worthless TV programs. There's no end to the vile garbage that wants to dump itself into my mind. I could go crazy trying to steer clear of it all. Along with Solomon, a man who had a real problem controlling his eyes, I admit, based on experience, that "death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man" (Proverbs 27:20).
Then there's the bad attitudes that can radiate from my eyeballs: the snotty look, the angry scowl, the I'm-holy-hope-you-are-too expression. How do I handle this vast array of ocular temptation? Am I doomed to all-day guard duty, with my eyes as prisoners? The task seems impossible.
Good thing God specializes in impossibilities.
Where I Should Be Looking
As God's child, I cannot handle a complicated assignment. My heavenly Father knows that, so he simplified the task of controlling my eyes with one small command:
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).
We're talking the eyes of my heart here. When they look at my Savior, that's called faith.
As my heart's eyes gaze at Jesus, my physical eyes avoid the many sins they so often stumble into. While I look at him, there's no desire to feast my eyes on some slinky swimsuit calendar ad. With him in focus, my eyes are kind and friendly, not cold and scary. As my soul stares at Christ, I'm too awestruck by his majesty to think much of myself. Simple as that.
But the moment I take my eyes off of him, they start doing foolish things again. And with my eyes pointed elsewhere, things go wrong. Good old Peter is a classic example of that, walking on water until he took his eyes off of Jesus (Matthew 14:25-30).
So my challenge is to learn to look at Christ consistently. It's not hard, but it takes practice. My heart's eyes wander as much as my physical ones do, if not more. It takes an ongoing act of faith to keep focusing my soul on him, but it's worth the effort.
I can't tell you what Christ's face looks like—neither can Hollywood, for that matter—but I do know what his heart looks like. His Word describes it to me. The more I read it, the clearer my view of Jesus. What I see is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Jesus satisfies my eyes.
He makes me want to keep looking.