To avoid temptation, we’ve been taught to bounce our eyes, walk with our heads down, fast-forward through sexy scenes, and I’m sure many other things. In general, good practices, but also limited if the heart is neglected.
As kids, we were given a bedtime because we needed our sleep and did not have the maturity to do this on our own.
Hopefully, as grown men, we now know the value of sleep and have the maturity to no longer need an externally enforced bedtime.
Giving a kid a bedtime is a good thing. But it is also not the point.
The point is to provide the kid with what he needs until he is mature enough to make wise decisions on this own.
Our many efforts to avoid sinful lusting should function in the same way.
At certain points in our story, we need the external “rules” to protect our developing heart.
When we don’t yet have the maturity to discern between right and wrong, we need the safeguards of these external rules.
However, the point is never simply to obey the rules. The point is to protect us until our hearts are mature enough to discern and make wise choices.
Too many men have simply followed the rules and have never matured.
While certainly we need to watch what our eyes consume, it is our heart that matters.
Where does your heart go when you are exposed to beauty, to sensuality, to eroticism?
The actual image matters less than the affect it has on our hearts.
This is not justification to indulge in sinful gazing, but rather the call to exercise the use of our eyes as we learn to recognize the difference between good and evil.
As such, in seeking to discipline your eyes, don’t settle for merely following “the rules.”
Learn to enjoy the full beauty of God’s creation with a wise and mature heart.