“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. For what is man’s lot from God above, his heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?” (Job 31:1-3)
A covenant–a serious and binding agreement.
We are bombarded daily with images presenting people in the most flattering, distracting light. TV shows, ads with photos of half-clad people, or straight-out pornography–the temptations are constant. Walk down the street and you’ll see people dressed to compel your attention and appreciation.
The Hebrew verb translated “look lustfully” has a very wide range of meanings related to the idea of understanding. A more literal translation would be to “consider” or “regard” a girl—or a man—in inappropriate ways. And they don’t have to be nude in order to inspire our lust. Job didn’t say, “an unclothed girl”—it’s possible to “look lustfully” at a fully clothed person, as anyone who has ever been tempted already knows.
Although lust is a sin committed in the realm of thought alone, it’s the same in God’s eyes as actual adultery. Jesus said,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away … .” (Matthew 5:27-30, RSV)
Now, I don’t think Jesus meant we should literally maim ourselves. In order to avoid all sins, we’d have to get a lobotomy! And the hands that sin are also the ones we use to serve Him. I think He was telling us, rather, to put aside even TV and movies if they serve as a gateway for sin(s) to enter our lives.
If you are serious about honoring God in every area of your life, then you must prayerfully examine what you are using your eyes to do.
A covenant with our eyes—though they can’t think for themselves. Plucking out our eyes—not a practical solution. Each of these sayings is making another point—the same point. Everyone must decide how best to avoid lusting after another person, even with what might begin as a casual glance. If you are serious about honoring God in every area of your life, then you must prayerfully examine what you are using your eyes to do. He will help you to know where the boundaries are and to keep within them!