Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Read Psalm 101:1-4 (ESV)
I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
How has what you’ve allowed yourself to think about and look at influenced the choices that you’ve made?
One of the most difficult things about my wife having a cake business, is that there are always fresh-baked, delicious looking sweets around the house that are off-limits. Do you know how tempting it is to smell them baking and then see them sitting on the counter? It would be so much easier if they were “out of sight, out of mind.”
Today’s passage is a psalm from King David. He made a connection between what we are looking at and what we are tempted to do. He described how he aspired to “walk with integrity of heart.” But I want to draw your attention to this. Because he wanted to live a life of godliness and integrity, he refused to fill his mind full of filth. Instead, he said that he would “ponder the way that is blameless.”
That brought to mind a verse from Philippians that we studied last week: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).” Fill your heart and mind with truth, beauty, goodness, and godliness instead of evil, corruption, perversion, and garbage. It really is true that we tend to act on what we think about.
Similarly, he committed to guarding his eyes. He said that he wouldn’t even look at anything that is worthless. Why? He hated evil works and didn’t want them to “cling” to him. The NASB translated it this way: “it shall not fasten its grip on me.” I thought that was a really interesting choice of words. Have you ever looked at something evil or perverse and then found that you just couldn’t get that picture out of your head no matter how hard you tried? It was as if the wickedness that you laid eyes on is now clinging to you or has you trapped in its grasp.
Lust is like that. If you entertain the thoughts or indulge the eyes even just once, it can lead to an addiction that has a fierce hold on you. David knew that. He wasn’t perfect. Far from it. He indulged his eyes with Bathsheba, and it led to adultery and murder.
If you are struggling with lust, what can you do about it? I think your first response should always be prayer, of course. Confess to God. Repent. Ask for forgiveness and ask him for His help overcoming it.
My next suggestion is do what David said—refuse to set your eyes on worthless things. It will be so much easier to overcome if the temptations are out of sight, out of mind. So far as you are able, get the temptations out of the house. If that means canceling a streaming service, do it. If that means ditching the smartphone and opting for a dumb one, do it. Throw away the magazines. Ditch the romance novels. Pay attention to the ratings on TV shows and movies. Refuse to feed the beast or add fuel to the fire. What we fill our minds with and what we set our eyes on can either derail us or strengthen and encourage us as we strive to walk with integrity on the way that is blameless. It truly is garbage in, garbage out.
Friends, know that we are praying for you here at Back to the Bible. You aren’t alone. If you are struggling with lust, I encourage you to ask God for help and wisdom. Then, take an action step. What are you looking at that needs to go? What thoughts are you entertaining that need to be replaced with God’s goodness? Whatever it is, try to get it out of sight and out of mind. Lust may feel good and right in the moment, but it is never worth the destruction it can leave in its wake. So ask God to help you walk in the way that is blameless and refuse to set your eyes on worthless things.
Lord, I want to walk with integrity of heart. I want to walk the way that is blameless. But there are so many temptations out there. Help me to shield my eyes and guard my mind. Help me to turn my eyes away from wicked and worthless things and fill my heart and mind with things that glorify You instead. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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