Read Job 31:1-11 to see how the heart follows the eyes.
In what setting are your eyes prone to lead your heart astray? Do you dress to be seductive to the opposite sex? How are you making it difficult for others to pursue a holy imagination?
In his book The Johns, Victor Malarek reveals the motivations of men who buy the services of prostitutes. In most cases, pornography precedes the transaction. The men watch porn, fantasize about the experience they want, then find a woman who will act out what they desire. The deed follows the fantasy.
Many of us may start thinking how “sick” such men are, as we would never get involved in such “filthy” acts. Jesus confronts such an attitude. While we may not have engaged in the deed of prostitution or viewed pornography, few of us are innocent of lustful fantasy.
It is not wrong to be sexually attracted to another person (temptation is not sin—Hebrews 4:15). God made us sexual beings who long for intimacy. What Jesus condemns is illicit lust—purposely looking at someone other than one’s spouse to stimulate and entertain sexual desire.
The legalists of Jesus’ day had a religion of deeds. In one’s mind, the fantasies could run wild so long as one didn’t “do the deed” of adultery (Exodus 20:14). Jesus taught a religion of the heart. Adultery starts with a fantasy, making the fantasy a sin itself (Matthew 5:28). A man can look lustfully at a woman without touching her. She can still feel like simply an object.
Jesus’ remedy to lustful fantasy is radical and practical. The heart follows the eyes (Job 31:7). If your eyes are leading you to sin, then go blind! (Matthew 5:29). Shut your eyes. Divert them. Take them elsewhere before your heart follows them. Forgo the illicit pleasures of this life for the sake of the next (Matthew 5:29).
Jesus’ teaching here is for both sexes. All of us are to cultivate holy imaginations, viewing people as people rather than just objects to be used.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Mark 12:28-37
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