I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?
To break a covenant in the ancient Near East was serious business, resulting in shame or judgment (Joshua 9). That’s why Job’s act was so extraordinary: He made a covenant with his eyes. He couldn’t cast his eyes lustfully upon a young woman; to do so would break his covenant of purity with his eyes (Matthew 5:28).
Why did Job make a covenant with his eyes instead of his tongue, hands, or feet? Surely, he wanted to keep those body parts pure. Perhaps he viewed sight—his eyes—as a gateway for temptation. The tongue, hands, and feet only put in motion what the mind has conceived. And often the mind depends on visual information for its ideas. And perhaps he knew that sight was the gateway for mankind’s original sin: “When [Eve] saw that the tree was good for food . . . she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6, emphasis added). Those details are of lesser importance—the point of Job’s action is that he took willful steps to live a pure life before God. And he chose a covenant with his eyes as a way to express his commitment.
Are there any steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of yielding to the temptation to sin? Job’s example may be a good place to begin.
Guarding our hearts begins with guarding our eyes and ears.
I wish someone would have told me that the kind of pornography you’re most turned on by is usually linked to a corresponding hurtful event in your life
I wish someone would have told me that the dopamine and oxytocin being released from my watching certain types of pornography would cause me to question my sexual orientation, which in turn cost me relationships with friends.
I wish someone would have explained what “sexual anorexia” was and that countless young men are unable to get erections because they’ve been watching porn since they were around 15 years old.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
In the 1969 comedic Western film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the two main characters have committed a robbery and are being pursued by a posse of lawmen. Every time the main characters look over their shoulder, the posse is still there. The robbers repeatedly ask, “Who are those guys?”
Relentless pursuit is part of the Christian life. That is, we are constantly being stalked by “[our] adversary the devil.” It was the same with David in the Old Testament; he was pursued by King Saul who sought to put David to death. Unlike the film characters, we are not being pursued for a specific sin or action. In fact, it is the opposite: We are on God’s side and are relentlessly pursued and attacked by our spiritual enemy, Satan. For that reason, we must “be sober, be vigilant”—we must never let our guard down. We must clothe ourselves daily in the believer’s spiritual armor, our only defense against the “fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Be vigilant, but not fearful. In Christ, we have all the defense we need against our spiritual enemy. We are victorious in Christ.
Satan does far more harm as an angel of light than as a roaring lion. Vance Havner
Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Proverbs 6:27 (NIV
Miami lawyer Stephen Gutierrez was defending a client accused of arson. As he made his closing arguments, he made a quick exit as his pants caught fire. The culprit was an e-cigarette battery, which ignited at the worst possible moment. Gutierrez was unharmed, but his client was convicted.
Allowing a bad habit to reside in the pockets of your mind or heart is dangerous, for you never know when it will ignite in shame, harmful consequences, or judgment. The apostle James warns about this twice. James 3:6 says, “The tongue is a fire.” When we allow the wrong words to slip into our conversation, it can burn up our testimonies. James later also warns against the selfish accumulation of wealth, saying, “Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will … eat your flesh like fire” (James 5:3).
Likewise, Proverbs 6:27 describes sexual immorality as taking fire into our laps, hoping not to be burned. Wrong words, covetousness, and sexual sin—these and other hidden sins—will come back to burn us. If you’re tolerating anything in your life that could flare up into sin, confess it to God. Don’t let Satan fan temptation into a flame.
Sin is like fire, because if you wait too long before you attempt to bring it under, the attempt is useless. The time comes when fire gets the upper hand. E. A. Gillett
Not even a day after the retreat, I feel like 10 more demons are trying to find a place inside me. When ever you are institutionalized (by that I mean retreats as well), you think you have overcome your demons and have swept your house clean. But it has never worked for me…. I seem to do well for a while and then I fizzle out for no good reason.
The common notion is that you need 21 days of abstinence (or persistence) to break/create a habit, but apparently there is a great difference between forming a habit and automaticity (i.e. the notion of acting without thinking). Apparently automaticity is the central driver of habits. There is a curved relationship between habit and automaticity — meaning that the earlier repetitions were most beneficial for establishing a habit, and gains gradually dwindled over time.
It’s like trying to run up a hill that starts out steep and gradually levels off. At the start you’re making great progress upwards, but the closer you get to the peak, the smaller the gains in altitude with each step.
Research suggests that 21 days to form a habit is probably right, as long as all you want to do is drink a glass of water after breakfast. Anything harder is likely to take longer to become a really strong habit, and, in the case of some activities, much longer.
If anyone ever reads this piece, please make a short prayer for me. I really need all the help I can get