by Jonathan Painter
The eyes are the gateway to the heart of men. What men see will eventually affect the way their hearts turn.
Job 15:12 says, “Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,” It is vitally important that we protect our eyes if we want to guard our hearts. This is an exceptionally hard thing to do today. We live in an age and time when the world makes many passes at our eyes on billboards, magazine racks, and the internet. It seems as though every time we turn around that the guard on our eyes is challenged. Sometimes it seems that it is such a hopeless fight, yet it is a fight worth fighting.
Job was a wise man, and he realized the correlation between the eyes and the heart, as well as the mind. Job 31:1 says, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Job knew that whatever he saw would begin to turn in his mind and would eventually affect his heart. It is young people’s responsibility to set their defenses in array and to prepare for battle because the enemy is coming in their direction hard and fast. How will we raise our defenses? How will we guard our eyes, minds, and hearts?
First of all, we must PRAY.
Prayer is one of the most valuable weapons at our disposal as Christian soldiers, yet we rarely use it. Let us pray daily and ask God to help us guard our eyes, hearts, and minds. I do not mean a simple, ten-second prayer but a prayer from the heart. We must put thought into our praying. When we start out our day with the Lord, our day has a good start. We must make our preparations, set forth a personal strategy of defense for ourselves, but never forget that, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:31)
Secondly, we must MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE.
When I was about fifteen, I realized the importance of keeping the guard of my eyes. I had good parents who taught me to look away when I came across such things that I should not see. However, I found myself slower and more reluctant to look away, and eventually even looking for things that I should not see. The Holy Spirit smote my heart, and I turned to God’s Word. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:9) I began to look up and to study verses that had to do with the eyes. I memorized Job 31:1 as well as Psalm 101:3 which says, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” I used these verses to strengthen my defenses, and every time I was tempted to look at something I should not have, I would use God’s Word which I had tucked away in my memory to help me resist temptation. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) I know that all of this may seem simple, and most of us have heard it many times previously; but it is true and it works!
Next, we must AVOID.
“Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” (Proverbs 4:15) If we are serious about defending our eyes to save our hearts and minds, then we will avoid sights and situations that would put such defenses in jeopardy. I had a young man tell me one time, “I go to the local swimming pool during the summer; I just don’t look at everyone else.” That is crazy, yet this is a young man who said he was called to preach. He made this statement many years ago, and not only did he never preach, but he is not even in church anymore. “Mine eye affecteth mine heart…” (Lamentations 3:51) I cannot tell the future or predict what could have been, but maybe he would have fulfilled his call to preach if he had been more careful about guarding his eyes.
One of the materials I struggled with was Sports Illustrated. I loved sports, especially college sports, and Sports Illustrated could be found in almost any doctor’s or dentist’s office. However, I found that the pictures and advertisements posted in this magazine covered far more than sports. When I began to strengthen my defenses as a fifteen-year-old boy, I resolved never to read a Sports Illustrated magazine again. I needed to avoid it, to turn from it, and to pass away. That was almost ten years ago, and I have kept that resolution. I have never been sorry for it, and I do not feel I have missed out on much. Rather, I feel that I have been spared a lot of trouble with my eyes by avoiding that publication.
It is important not to forget to WATCH THE BACK DOOR!
After setting up the defenses that we have already mentioned, we must be sure to be on our guards against the little things. When we think of guarding our eyes, we generally think of pictures. However, there is another avenue of temptation for the eyes that is quite as deadly as pictures: WORDS! We must be careful of what we read. When we read things that are inappropriate it creates the images in our minds. We may not have let our eyes rest on a wicked photograph, but what we read created a wicked picture in our minds. Satan is sly, and this old, wicked world is out to get us. The internet will not be our friend, so we must be careful for what we search. We must be careful what pages we visit and be sure to be on our guards every minute.
It may be necessary to GET HELP.
If we get caught up in the sin of the eyes and we feel that our defenses have been broken down, we must get help and not give up! God has put good people all around us who can help us to build our defenses again. ACCOUNTABILITY is a huge reinforcement for our defense systems. “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Proverbs 24:6)