Tag Archives: thoughts

What Do We Let Our Eyes See?

David said, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes” Ps 101:3 and also prayed that God would ‘turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things’ Ps 119:37. I have long believed that it is really important we are careful what we watch, read and listen to because it all has an influence on our thoughts. If we can keep the wrong things from entering our minds then it is so much easier to think the right thoughts, which lead to speech, and actions. Greg Laurie said ‘How does temptation come? Primarily through the doorway of the mind’.

I think a really big way that we can guard our hearts is by actively thinking about which films and TV programs we watch. Here are some guidelines I use:

1. Look at the rating

Kind of obvious, but very useful! I have a personal rule that I won’t watch anything above a PG though there are occasional exceptions. This has come from getting fed up of walking out in the middle! Most stuff above that is either violent, scary, sexual or has cursing, none of which are very helpful. The back of the DVD, if you have it, also usually has the reasons why it is rated that way which gives you an idea of the content.

2. Look at the storyline

The film might be a Universal rating, but be all about two people who are already married falling in love with someone else and sleeping with them, or the story of a criminal that makes him look good. Often the storyline is not really pure and God-honouring. I just read a statistic that said ‘89% of all sex on TV occurs outside of marriage’!

3. Look at a good review

Most times when I’m considering watching a film now I go to Plugged In Online – a really cool website of Focus On The Family. Some brave reviewer watches all the films that come out and then reviews them with a summary of its positive and negative elements to help us make informed decisions. This has put me off watching quite a few films which otherwise I might have watched and then regretted or walked out of!

4. Think Biblically

‘Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ Col 3:23. I sometimes think if Jesus came back and I was sitting watching this film would he be pleased? And is what I’m doing glorifying God?

Even more convicting is Phil 4:8 ‘Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.’ This verse has led me to set aside an awful lot of things I might otherwise have watched, and I now tend to watch things that people would call ‘wholesome’ as they more often go along with this verse.

5. Know what you struggle with

Everyone has different temptations that are worse for them than for others, so while I believe we need to be careful of all these areas, some we need to be particularly careful in! If you’re struggling with cursing then films with curse words in will probably make it worse. And the same with other temptations.

6. Be OK with walking out

It’s better to walk out of a bad film and put up with what your friends say than live with it haunting you or affecting you in ways you may not even be aware of. And if necessary you can shut your eyes – here is a great promise: ‘He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil: He will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure. Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; They will see the land that is very far off.’ Isaiah 33:15-17

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Don’t Give Away Your Strength and Virtue

I was reading through Proverbs 31 the other day and came across where King Lemuel’s mother says to him, ‘Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.’ It struck me that even though that is obviously meant for men, it really applies to women too, but the other way around. As women we can voluntarily give away our strength to men by what we do, say or think. The word ‘strength’ here is translated as virtue in three other places in Proverbs, and also can mean valour, substance, wealth. Obviously the strongest meaning of this, with the worst consequence, is sexual immorality. But I really think there are many more subtle ways this can happen too. Samson lost his strength when Delilah cut his hair. In Nehemiah 13v26 it says that women caused Solomon to sin.

One way I believe this can happen is in our thought life – when I was single I often caught myself thinking too much about someone who I knew I wouldn’t want to marry. The danger in that is a waste of thoughts that could be better used planning how to serve God better, meditating on scripture, praying etc. And then of course the more you think of that person, the more likely it is that you might justify to yourself why it would be OK to be with them even temporarily and end up dating and eventually marrying someone that is not good for you.

Married women can give away their strength and virtue by thinking about men other than their husband, it might not be lustful thoughts but it is still wrong. And when you have wrong thoughts and keep entertaining them, it gives the Devil a foothold. Not that the first thought that enters your head is wrong, but to keep it there is! We need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Another way is by having a close male friend that is not their husband, to quote Greg Laurie, ‘Girls, you can’t have a guy apart from your husband be your buddy’. Having lots of in depth conversations alone with another guy is asking for trouble – you may not even be attracted to him, but it takes away from the time you should be talking to your husband and can so easily lead to resentment when you find they are more sympathetic! And to quote Greg Laurie again, ‘Most adulterous relationships start with friendship, which leads to close relationship, which leads to seeking marital counsel from someone of the opposite sex – which is like putting a shotgun to your head’.

On a less sinister note I believe we can also give our strength to men when we put men before God, which results in all kinds of things that sap away our energy. One example I have seen in my own life is that we can expect our husbands to be all we need, when actually God is all we need. Then when our husbands don’t meet our expectations we are disappointed and depressed. We need to realise God can be our everything!

The Parable of the Sower explains how our fruitfulness can be choked by desires, cares and riches. We need to be careful to be chaste and pure and put God first in our thoughts and deeds, so that there is no room for our strength and virtue to be given away and for us no longer to be fruitful.