Matthew 5:27 – 30 You have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go to hell.
Boy, this is a tough one. In our media-crazed culture, it’s just about impossible not to lust. After all, everywhere you look, you see a scantily clad woman beckoning with a come hither look. She is on billboards, plastered on the sides of buses, even in our living rooms when we turn on the television sets.
But God takes our thoughts seriously. Very seriously. He doesn’t want us to just look righteous. He wants us to be righteous. You see, God knows what many of us don’t. He knows that our thoughts are the doorways to our actions. When our thoughts aren’t right, our actions aren’t right.
The man who lusts after a woman who isn’t his wife – even if he doesn’t actually sleep with her – probably isn’t loving His wife the way Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). His thoughts, even if he doesn’t act on them, affects his actions toward his wife.
And it isn’t just men who struggle with their thoughts. Women do it, too, though we may struggle in different ways, and in different areas. But truly, if we allow our minds to dwell on things that are not pleasing to God, it will affect our actions, for our actions are born from our thoughts.
I don’t think that Christ was telling us to literally gouge out our eyes. Even blind people struggle with their thoughts. But He was making the point that we need to guard our thoughts, for if left unchecked, they can send us straight to a hell-on-earth existence. And without Christ, our evil thoughts will send us straight to hell.
So turn the television off, if it causes you to struggle. Don’t talk to that woman or that man who leads your thoughts astray. Keep your eyes straight ahead, and don’t even let yourself look at the person or the thing that leads you away from God-pleasing thoughts. And when the absence of the television or that person leaves a void in your life, fill it back up with God, and your family, and things that will please God, things that will truly give you the abundant life that He wants you to have.
Dear Father, Please forgive me for failing, at times, to control my thoughts. Help me to focus on things that will please You.