Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Be Careful Little Eyes

"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl."
Job 31:1

When I read this verse, I automatically thought of the children's song, “Be careful little eyes what you see." In our sexually charged culture it is really important we do just as the children's song suggest. I probably would change the words to something like, “Be careful grandma eyes what you see!” Too often we tend to think of lust as being only a "guy thing." But in all honesty over the twenty years I spent been in volunteering in youth work and the last eight years of ministering to adult women I have come to realize many women have a major struggle in this area. Some of them have been molested and unfortunately that woke up their sexuality very early in life and in very distorted ways. Others have simply been exposed to pornographic material and the exposure left them struggling. I have a friend that said she only saw it once and it continued to plague her for a very long time. In light of our sexually driven culture, I think it is important to be careful about what we put in front of us, because what we see with our eyes will have a huge impact upon our souls in ways we can't even imagine.  
Pornography can strip us of a sense of modesty. We may begin to dress in tighter dresses, shorter shorts, and lower cut blouses because our modesty has been distorted by all the "skin" we see on the screen, in magazines, and in books. This can also be impacted by the style of clothes that we find available in stores. When we dress and carry ourselves in less modest ways, we experience guys looking at us in sexual ways and interpret that to mean that they like us when they are simply lusting. Oh how I long for us to be women who find our worth in being God’s creation, rather than in turning heads. I long for us to find our worth in Christ's pure sacrificial love and not be seeking acceptance in worldly ways. Hopefully, our Christian brothers and the men in our lives are making covenants like the one found in Job 31:1. But we can show godly love by modest dress that doesn't emphasize our bodies and by modest behavior that invites them to know our inner heart. If the men in our lives blow it, I hope we don't get a thrill out of it, but speak the truth to them in love. 
One study I read says that the number of women struggling with pornography is growing rampantly. It is available 24 hours a day via the Internet which offers anonymity and affordability and instantaneously. It allows people to go to greater areas of perversions because there is no accountability or other people around. The study says more women are struggling with it as their children are growing and husbands are working long hours. In addition, lust is associated with the romance novels women read. The relational interaction depicted in those and in soap operas can be stimulating and provocative because they include immoral sexual content. In addition, just as pictorial pornography is deceptive because it is often airbrushed and shot from all sorts of angles that belie the normal human body of a woman, romance novels does the same thing with the relationships of the characters. They are always perfect, not human. Both tend to leave us with the desire for more than any human can give.
Pornography, both pictorial and relational are on the rise. There are several reasons for this. First, we have many broken homes and needs are not being met so people go to wrong places to have those needs met. Secondly, it is a sick, but lucrative industry that targets vulnerable people in an attempt to entice them so that they can make money. Third, because believers are to be the reflections of God’s love to an unloving world, Satan will do all he can do to distort love and marriage. Fourth, sexual addictions and strongholds are hard to break and unless they are broken it will take more perversion to satisfy those entrapped. Lastly, even though we live in a culture that is busy I feel that people are becoming more and more isolated and losing the ability to relate to others in healthy and satisfying ways. It is important we as Christian women foster godly relationships with our spouses, boyfriends, or friends that are guys. It is also important we foster healthy relationships with other Christian women. In our culture deep relationships have become difficult to foster, but they are necessary because they offer rich connection, sanctifying accountability and encouragement that helps us grow in our relationship with God and others. 
What kinds of images do you see that lead you into temptation? Why do you suppose those images affect you? Have you set boundaries that protect your eyes and your soul? Has what you seen affected your modesty and your struggle with maintaining godly relationships or a pure marriage? We want to make sure we are guarding ourselves the most when we are alone and in the privacy of our homes. If we are struggling, it is wise to seek accountability with a trusted friend. I have seen God do wonderful things when people are humble and bring the struggle to the light. 

Prayer: Father, our world is saturated with sexual things and even other things that distract us from spending time with You. Please help us to guard our eyes and to seek healthy relationships that will enhance our relationship with you. Please break strongholds and encourage those who are struggling. Thank you that your power is stronger than our weaknesses and our humanity. Help us to honor You by living in the safety of your boundaries and walking in your strength for victory over temptation. Amen. 

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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!