Avoiding Lust: “I Have Made a Covenant With My Eyes”
Written by John Columbo
God created sexual attraction to strengthen the wonderful blessing of marriage. But today it is used too often in ways that weaken and destroy marriages. Christian men are called to be faithful and to fight against the temptation to lust.
How lucky those of us who are married are to have our spouses! Some people have spent years looking and yearning for that godly relationship, where two become one, serving, pleasing and edifying each other on their journey to raising a family and creating a godly home.
Today’s world has most things about marriage and sex backwards. But God wants us to obey the Seventh Commandment and avoid the sin of lust. He wants us to learn commitment and faithfulness in our marriages. Marriages aren’t without their bumps in the road. Marriages become stronger as we sacrifice for our wife and love her even in the hard times. Love and commitment are choices that must be strengthened daily.
But the reality is that some in God’s Church have problems with lust, pornography or other forms of infidelity. We must overcome this.
The purpose of passion
The human body was not created in vain. No function was meant to be performed in sin, but with purposes that include arousing our partners. Everything—from the shape of the body to the releasing of specific chemicals—was designed for the arousal of a married couple. God created us to be pleasing to each other in mind, body and eyes.
So if this is the lifelong gift we should receive and enjoy, why then would we let our eyes wander? Why then should we be like the world and admire things that we cannot and should not have? It is often said, “You can look, but you can’t touch.” Does that not invite the fruit of covetousness, which is idolatry? Will that not keep us out of the Kingdom?
Job said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1). This commitment to faithfulness is what God expects from Christian men.
Love like Christ loves
In Ephesians 5, we read that a godly love, like Christ’s love for the Church, should be expressed between a husband and wife. Verse 25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
As married individuals, we must remember that we are not our own. “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:4).
When we lust after others, we are not only going against the will of our spouse, but against God’s will. Our eyes should focus only on the bodies given to us in marriage, giving full attention to the affection due to each other.
Tackling our thoughts
It is a difficult task in this age. Temptation exists everywhere. If we neglect to control our human nature, we may subject ourselves to lusts that can hurt our marriage. Jesus Christ stated in Matthew 5:28-29, “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”
My mother always reminded me that even supermodels and movie stars are real people. “She is someone’s daughter and sister. Would you want others to view your sister inappropriately?” And a young woman’s father will not appreciate some man ogling his daughter.
There is no doubt that we are going to find the opposite sex attractive. But how will we behave in our thoughts? Whether we are single or married, we need to look upon women with respect for their own sake and out of respect for our loved ones.
Let’s cast what is unprofitable away. Let’s avoid those who flatter us. Let’s turn off any program that draws us in with sexual images. Let’s make a covenant with our eyes and keep our integrity. Lust is not worth losing our spouse—or God’s Kingdom.
John Columbo is married and has two small children. He attends the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
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