Training Our Eyes

Our eyes are powerful receptors that can quickly corrupt our thoughts with evil. If we fill our eyes with porn, the images become the memories we lust over. We can be porn addicts long after we stop looking at porn! Jesus explained,

“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” (Luke 11:34-36 ).

When we look at evil things with our eyes, our minds are filled with that evil and our reflection of Jesus is obscured.

High standards: Consider God’s standard for his own eyes. Habakkuk said of God, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13 ). As God’s adopted sons in Christ (Romans 8:14-17), we are called to his standard of purity for our eyes. Peter wrote, “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15 ).

Since God commands us to be holy, we really have no excuse for filling our eyes with evil. Disobeying God with our eyes is tantamount to pride, i.e. that we think we know better than God. When we allow pride to creep into our life, we cut ourselves off from God’s help. James 4:6-7 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” We need God’s help in order to walk in freedom!

Television, movies, magazines and computers can easily fill our eyes and ears with unlimited depictions of evil. These depictions cause memories that will hinder or block our progress toward obeying God. We must shut them off! Isaiah said, “He who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil: he will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure” (Isaiah 33:15-16). If we want to live in God’s favor and blessing, we will have to remove the sources of evil which we are viewing.

Change our plans: We can eliminate many temptations by simply not planning to do things that will feed our lusts. Romans 13:14 says, ” But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” We have certain triggers that can lead us into addictive behavior. The key is to recognize the triggers and avoid them ahead of time. Some examples:

  • If you know you’ll be alone tonight and will be able to surf for porn on the net, invite a friend over so you don’t have the opportunity to get into trouble.
  • If you are headed to the beach and are prone to lusting after people in swimsuits, try going when there will be few people, or leave your glasses at home (if you wear glasses), or just stay home.
  • If you lust over the magazine covers at the supermarket checkout area, pick something to focus your eyes on in the checkout area that will keep you from looking at the magazine covers.
  • If you are tempted by the magazine rack at the convenience store check-out counter, go to an alternate store that doesn’t display the magazines where you’ll be tempted (or doesn’t have the magazines at all)
  • If you are falling because of porn solicitations on email, switch your email account to a different provider.
  • If lunches with your attractive co-worker are causing adulterous thoughts, stop having lunch with him/her and/or invite others to go with you.
  • If your drive home from work takes you by an adult video store that you frequent, change your route home to avoid going near the store.
  • If your wallet is enabling you to visit massage parlors and/or prostitutes, leave it at home or carry only a little cash (and no ATM or credit cards)

Change our viewing habits: This area may be painful for us to bring under control. Entertainment has become a pillar of our world culture. we must ask ourselves how much our purity is worth to us. The underlying question is, are we ready to bring our entertainment habits into submission to God? James 4:7 commands us to “submit to God” and to “resist the devil.”

If we fail to bring our entertainment habits into submission, this could be the stumbling block that keeps us in addiction. Before reading through our suggestions, we encourage you to ask God to convict you of the entertainment sources that need to be reduced or removed from your life.

These are merely suggestions – they won’t influence your salvation with God, because your salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. These measures will help you close potential doors of temptation. Though implementing such measures may not be easy, God will help you do them.

Television

Reduce or eliminate cable television options: It’s a challenge to find wholesome programs on television. We will notice that the lack of TV has helped to keep our thoughts cleaner and has increased the peace in our home. When we do watch an occasional program, we find that our minds have been re-sensitized for purity. Program content and even the commercials often are promoting some worldly value that doesn’t line up with following God. This further strengthens our resolve to continue to reduce our “TV intake.”

Don’t stay up late watching TV alone: Staying up late watching TV is asking for trouble. Late night TV offers some more risqué themes, along with the phone chat advertisements, Psychic hotlines and other solicitations. When we’re tired, we have a tendency to let our spiritual guard down. We’re more susceptible to getting in to trouble.

For example, one of my accountability partners was falling to sexual temptation by watching HBO and Cinemax after his wife went to bed each night. He finally mustered the courage to explain to her that he was being tempted by the HBO and Cinemax. He committed not to watch TV after she went to bed. The results were that he no longer fell to sexual temptation in that area and he started getting a better night’s sleep.

Don’t channel surf: I like the fishing analogy of trolling to illustrate the danger of channel surfing. Certain types of fish are best caught by driving your boat very slowly with the hooked bait trolling in the water. Channel surfing is like trolling in that we’re moving slowly through the channels looking for something interesting.

With the many channels out there, we’re almost guaranteed to find something juicy to feed our eyes on. Flipping through the channels are dangerous. Whether it’s somebody shooting another person or two people having sex, or some other sin depiction, I’m better off going to the program guide instead of flipping through the channels.

Movies

The “adults only” lie: In A Way of Escape, Dr. Neil Anderson pointed out that many people are buying into the adults only lie. It goes something like this: “I am old enough to handle the mature subject theme of what I am watching.” Though we may understand the “mature theme” better than a younger person, our minds are still affected negatively. In fact, our understanding of what is going on may make the damage even deeper in our minds than in a child’s. If a program is not suitable for the kids, parents shouldn’t watch it either.

Consider shredding your movie card: While some people may not find it hard to stop going to the movies, I’m guessing that many people will have difficulty surrendering their movie watching. After God brought me out of sex addiction, I began to notice how sexually explicit many of the video covers were. It was like 7 out 10 covers featured some type of sexual theme.

Like channel surfing, walking around the movie rental store was trolling for trouble. I realized that this was a not a good place for me to be spending time looking around. The clincher was that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find wholesome movies to rent. Some places were courting the homosexual audience with “alternative lifestyle” rental sections and the porn audience with soft core porn themes.

As a result, my wife and I decided to shred our “Blockbuster” rental card as a sacrifice to God and a step towards purity. It was a painful few weeks after we shredded our movie card. We found other things to do and now don’t miss our Blockbuster days.

Read a Christian movie review before deciding to go: Christian movie reviews will help arm you with truth regarding the movie you want to see. As I mentioned above, we found the reviews helpful in weeding out the bad movies. Focus on the Family’s Unplugged site provides helpful Christian reviews of movies, television and music.

Computers

Get a filtered service provider: Whether you’re free or addicted, filtered internet service makes good sense. There are increasingly easy ways to end up at porn sites on the net. A filtered provider removes many of these avenues to porn. There are several providers offering inexpensive filtered service ranging from free to $19 per month.

How much is your visual purity worth to you? If you signup for one of these services, be sure to give your password to a friend, so you are not tempted to take a peek. See our filters page for suggested sources.

Other Ideas:

  • Ask a friend to check your computer files at random times each month
  • Don’t surf the net alone
  • Keep the door open when you’re surfing the net
  • Keep the computer monitor viewable from doorway of your computer room
  • Minimize open searches on search engines: Search engines are powerful tools for finding information, but can be dangerous for pulling up unwanted sites featuring porn and other sin themes. Find a Christian search engine if possible for the searches that you have to do.
  • Stay away from personal ads and chat rooms

Magazines / Print Material

Communicate with your spouse or roommate: Tell your spouse/roommate about any of their magazines that are causing you to fall to temptation. You may ask them to secure or discard the magazines so that you won’t see them. Examples: women’s glamour magazines, Victoria’s Secret catalogues, clothing catalogues, porn, etc.

Reduce / eliminate hobby magazines with sexual overtones: Hobby magazines for men often feature sexy girls in the advertisements and subject articles. Sex sells, especially to men. How important is your hobby? Is it more important than your journey to freedom from sexual addiction?

The above measures may seem extreme, but I propose that we have to do some extreme things to reverse the effects of the extreme things we’ve viewed. It takes strength and determination to resist the flow of our worldly culture and live as a “counter-culture” Christian. God will help us do this and realize the benefits of keeping our eyes in purity. One of the biggest benefits of keeping our eyes pure will be realized in our thoughts. We’ll have less temptations for our minds to dwell on and fantasize about.

Personal Application Questions

  • Please take an inventory of the things you’re viewing that are sources of sexual temptation and other sinful depictions.
  • Next to each item, please write the reasons why you are viewing those sources.
  • Go to the Lord in prayer with your list. Ask the Lord for forgiveness for the sinful things you have allowed your eyes to see. Ask the Lord to strengthen your resolve to die to pleasures associated with each item on your list. Ask the Lord to begin the purification process of all the memories of the evil things you have seen. Ask the Lord to strengthen you to train your eyes to look away from temptation sources.
  • Please write down the actions you will take to eliminate or minimize your exposure to visual temptations.

Also pray with: