If you wear glasses, you can relate to the blurry world experienced for the first seconds of each day. For a brief time, the world is fuzzy and incomprehensible. Confusion is quickly snuffed out as you put your glasses on- but the ability to clearly see generally trump's any other sensory loss.
With so much of our world determined by what we see- what we allow ourselves to see, and more importantly what we actively avoid seeing is important. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” -Matthew 6:22
Is Willpower Finite?
The man who looks at everything coming within the field of his vision is no healthier than the man who chews and swallows everything that comes into the vicinity of his mouth.
And most of us put very little effort into resisting our gluttonous eyes.
But Jesus made it very clear how he feels on the subject. He would rather see us pluck out an eye than gratify its sinful impulses. And we get it. After all, we have regrets about things we’ve seen and wish we could unsee. All of us have those regrets.
But resisting the tyranny of our eyes can feel like trying to defy gravity. Whatever victories we enjoy are fleeting. The gravity of sin is always felt, even when we are ascendant.
So what’s to be done?
In his book, “Willpower,” author Roy Baumeister addresses the prevalent notion that we all have a finite amount of willpower which, once exhausted, leaves us utterly at the mercy of whatever temptations assault us. He does this by covering all of the social science research that points to the fact that willpower is something that can be increased over time by those who are interested in doing so by building on incremental victories.
Now those of us who belong to Christ know that there is a supernatural dimension to the matter. We believe that God considers every temptation resistible and that he has given us his Holy Spirit to aid in the resistance. But we also believe that it would be presumptuous to leave the Holy Spirit to do all the resisting while we coasted.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” -James 1:14-15
So for those who would like to grow in sanctification, this matter of the eyes could be a helpful place to start.
4 Ways To Guard Your Eyes in Our Society Today
Its not reasonable to expect to run a marathon if you’ve never run a mile. If you want to have more control over your eyes- you need to be training them.
The following are some helpful suggestions about how to get better at averting your eyes.
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.” - Luke 11:34
With television, advertising, the internet, and other outlets at the tip of your finger- it can sometimes be hard to tell where to draw the line on what is acceptable to view. Here are some suggestions of things you should consider not viewing. This is by no means a comprehensive list- but consider some of the items below, and allow yourself to be convicted where needed.
What to Avert From
Here is a partial list of things to avert your eyes from:
“Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” -1 Timothy 4:15
Our Father is the God of abundant grace regardless of what you struggle with, or any bad habit you’re moored in. If you are struggling, lean on his strength. At the same time, work towards strengthening your habits daily.
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