The Things We Look At
By Benjamin H. Liles
No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lamp stand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays. ~ Luke 11:33-36, New American Standard
If we aren't guided by God's hand to keep Him and His word ever before us then there is no need to watch what we put before our eyes. When He gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments He told them, "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates" (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
And again a little later we are given the reminder, "Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads" (Deuteronomy 11:18, Holman Christian Standard). If our foreheads are slightly above our eyes then what we see of God needs to also be committed to memory. It's why meditation on His word is so important. It keeps not just our focus on Him, but when tempted we can recall scripture to keep us from slipping.
It is why when Jesus was tempted by Satan after forty days in the wilderness, to change common stones to bread, that He said, "It has been written: 'The man shall live not by bread alone, but by every word coming out of the mouth of God'" (Matthew 4:4, Berean Literal). It makes sense that the things we keep before our eyes is an important issue to God. Yesterday I talked about how music affects our hearts, but so does what we keep before our eyes. These days, with the advent of online distributors like Youtube and Netflix, we have a bevy of things we can watch. Some of it is beneficial and good, others not quite so much.
A concert we may have wanted to be at, which we could not afford to attend, can now be posted to Youtube. Musical acts that have hit singles have videos which can be watched multiple times. So, it is even important to not just watch what we listen to but watch as well. The Psalmist penned the words, "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me" (Psalm 101:3, New American Standard).
When I say this I don't mean to make it out that I am a prude by any means, but I have learned to take control over what I watch: I don't watch things that will lead me or my heart astray from God. I refuse to allow myself to be tempted above or beyond that which I can bear. We know this when it says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13, Berean Study).
The reason I do as I do daily, and live my life the way I do is so I can keep a good and clean heart for God who set me free from sin and death. His Son, Jesus Christ, gave Himself up so that I would not have to bear the punishment of my sins. The only person who ever bore the sins of many and endured it even past the point of death is Jesus Christ. Everything I have said to now I know is the truth. I won't listen to music that will taint my heart or watch a program or item that will take my affection away from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I believe it is why God had Ezekiel give this as part of his message to God's people, Israel, "Those of you that escape shall remember me among the nations where they shall be carried captive, how that I have been broken with their lewd heart, which has departed from me, and with their eyes, which play the prostitute after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations" (Ezekiel 6:9, World English).
Of all the things I have watched and seen in my life I could be in the same boat with Paul the apostle on. I hate the former way of life I held, especially in my youth. If I could count myself as the worst of the worst I would. But that's the thing of it, God doesn't see any one of us as past the point of redemption. We can't work for His love or His mercy, grace, or even salvation. If we could then what use is faith? By faith, we appropriate that Jesus, who is seated in Heaven, is who He claims He is. I say this as Jesus said to Thomas, His disciple and later apostle, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed" (John 20:29, New American Standard).
I contemplated, before ever writing this article about focusing it on primarily television, but there are scores of things we see with our eyes. Some people play video games, and that can also have consequences as well. Then there are the things we read. Whether it's the Bible or other works that speak of Him and His love, we still read it. Then there are those things which can steal our affections: cars (advertisements), money, sex, and so forth and so on. We are bombarded every day in regards to our senses. How do we make it through this barrage of what I'd call "Visual Assault" on a day by day basis?
For me I tend to watch things I believe honors God. I also listen, with my ears, if something is going to offend Him and His word. Don't get me wrong there are items that fall within a gray area, and even then I do my best to steer clear of it. For me things are starkly black and white. There are times my wife has to tell me, "Don't you remember...?" or even has to set me straight on a matter. I don't mind when she does as she knows I? want my heart right before God. Thank you, my dear wife, for all that you say and do in my life. You are a treasure of God to me.
The whole point is that I want not just my eyes to see the things God sees, but to keep myself pure from filth. I don't want to speak in a manner that's inconsistent with what I believe. I want to live my life as I believe God desires of me. It's not a perfect life, for only Jesus Christ did that. But I can let Christ rule my heart. And that brings to mind what Peter, apostle to Christ said, "Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you" (1 Peter 2:11, Holman Christian Standard). I pray this finds each and every one of you who read these words well and blesses you immeasurably, I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.