By Jonathan Moseley
Two weeks ago, we had a friend of Renewal Church write a blog about modesty mainly addressing Christian women. You can read it here. I am grateful for her efforts. God invented clothing in Genesis. And we do well when we explore the reasons behind his inventions—clothing, like marriage and parenting, speak to spiritual truths. I am appreciative too of her plea for women to love the men around them by dressing in a way that will help us. After all, isn’t this the aim of love? Love seeks to understand the weaknesses/burdens of others and responds in a way that serves others best.
But this post is not addressed to Christian women. This post is mainly addressed to Christian men. I’m a man, which means if you’re a man reading this, I know how you are visually wired. I know the frustrations you have because of the way you are wired. I understand that summer time is one of hardest seasons to honor God because the intensity of the temptation to lust is greatest. I know how available porn is on the Internet and how it takes everything in you not to go there. I know how you sink in despair over your sin when you give into these temptations. I know you can likely point to verses that command men to refrain from sexually desiring the women you walk by on the streets or see in advertisements (Proverbs 6:17, 25). Perhaps echoing in your ears are Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:28, that looking lustfully at a woman is the same thing on a heart level as committing adultery. All of that to say, I understand and I’m with you.
This short blog is not to explore or emphasize the things we already know. As men, we know we must take responsibility for where our eyes go. We know that we should not think of ourselves as fallen victims or hopeless strugglers to our nature; instead, we know that Jesus supplies us with the power to overcome every temptation we face. So, what I want to do is spur us on in our fight. May we adopt Job’s resolution: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman” (Job 31:1). Without this resolution, the sin of lust will poke the eyes of our soul and blind us to all God wants to us to see. Here are just a few to consider:
1. We will miss seeing God:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8)
This is the saddest and worst of all tragedies. There is an ocean of wonder to behold when it comes to God. The excellencies and the majesty and the splendor of God are shown to us in creation, and more fully and specifically, in his Word. But when we start to lust after a woman, we no longer desire God. The eyes of our soul are turned away from what they were meant to behold. We exchange the beauty of God for a body.
2) We will miss out on seeing the needs of others.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:17)
As Christians, God has called us to seek out the poor and the marginalized and the impoverished. We honor God with our eyes by looking for ways to be a blessing. But eyes that seek to indulge selfish desires are oblivious to people’s needs. Lustful eyes could care less about others; they care only about serving themselves.
3) We will miss out on knowing love.
Lust is the enemy of love and our heart cannot host both at the same time. Lust looks only to the shell of a person and takes from it. Love looks at the substance of a person and adds to it. It peers beyond the exterior and seeks to connect with a person where the deepest intimacies and greatest enjoyments are found: the soul. If you’re a married man, lusting after someone else will cheapen and jeopardize the love you’ve found with your spouse. If you desire marriage, lust will hinder your ability to find love at all. In other words, you will lose love if you settle for lust.
If you’re a Christian man, then your heart aches at the possibility of missing out on these things. God has given us everything for our enjoyment, including the gift of sight. I urge you to use what you’ve been given to promote Jesus’ rule in the world, not abuse his gifts and advance your own pleasure at the expense of others. The sin of lust will first seek to rob and steal from you. But it doesn't stop there. Like any sin, it will seek to destroy you. Resolve with me to glorify God by making a covenant with your eyes. Let us press on to see the world and women the way He intended.
Jonathan Moseley is the Director of Community and Operations at Renewal Church.