You Become What You Behold
A week ago, I happened to be walking along the street with my courageous friend Shelton. As we walked, we reached to a point where we had to cross the street to the other side. And I was the first one to set my foot into it. Fortunately, there was no car in it coming towards me. So, I thought to myself “My life is not at stake!” Yet, my courageous and cautious friend was still behind; he had not crossed the street yet. So, it was his turn now. Then, he set his foot into the street. But, there from afar was a car coming towards him. Yet, he had not noticed it. He was both courageous and cautious in such a way that he looked in all the street directions to make sure his life was not at stake. But when I warned him of that far-coming car, as he set his eyes on it‒‒despite the far it was‒‒he got so paralyzed with fear that he could not even move. So, I had to pull him out!
Now I wonder why he, the courageous man, got so paralyzed with fear for a car that was even farther from running over him. Now, we have learnt that as he set his eyes on that farther car, he got miserable. So, again I wonder “Could there any problem with what we, Christians, look at? Is there something before our eyes we look at, that Satan is using to defeat us or to ensnare us into sin? What does the Bible say regarding what we behold?”
As we have understood in the story, what we look at does have a great impact on our mind. What we look at does, of course, affect our mind—there should be no question about that!
Now, let us look into some real stories of the Bible characters relating to the caution we should have with what we look at. And, let us begin with Adam and Eve—the very first humankind—created by God.
God’s Love for Humankind and Warning against Sin
When God created Adam, the first man from the dust of the ground, God loved him so much that He gave him all the nourishing he would need. “And God said, behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the all earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for the meat” Gen. 1:29. And having made a garden for him, God placed him on it (Gen. 2:8). Not only that but also did God love him so much that warned him of the danger he would fall into on disobeying the Creator, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” Gen. 2:16-17. See, God’s love for man is abundant. Also, after creating Adam, as God knows His creatures better than themselves, He noticed Adam’s longing for a partner. So, God made a partner for Adam right from his ribs.
The Defeat of Eve [Adam’s wife] by the look
Now, Satan who rebelled against God in heaven was coming against God’s creatures, just like he came to Christ appearing to be an angel of light. Here too Satan did not expose himself to view, he hid himself through the animal that Adam and Eve could possibly have cheered up with. Satan came to Eve in a form of a serpent and said “…Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Gen. 3:1. And the woman courageously tried to explain or to sympathize with “the serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world”. She, in her own words, so strongly tried to argue with Satan over what God had said to them, saying “We may eat of the fruit of trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, ‘neither shall ye touch it’, lest ye die” Gen. 3:2-3. Now, although God had just warned Adam for the danger, we can clearly see that they both knew God’s command of love. Unfortunately, as Eve continued arguing with the Devil, he [the Devil, just as he is a liar from the beginning] started lying to her by showing her the forbidden sparkling fruit, saying “…Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Gen. 3:4, 5 KJV. And the woman looked at the forbidden fruit, and as she saw it, she was convinced. As says the Bible “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” Gen. 3:6. Did you notice the defeat of Eve? She was strong throughout the phases of temptation. Yet, it came to looking at or seeing the fruit, she undoubtedly got defeated. Now you might say “How is that?” Remember that the Bible said “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” Gen. 3:6. See, she was attracted to it by the look—when she set her eyes on it. And, not only she but also did Adam, her husband, sin!
Four Sins—as a Result of Bad Look
Not only did Eve get attracted to sin primarily by beholding the forbidden fruit, but also did King David sin later.
As it is known from the Scriptures, David—the King of Israel—was a man of war. He was used to going to war with his army. Yet, one day he stayed in his palace resting (2 Samuel 11:1). That day, as he got up from bed, he looked upon a naked woman bathing. Although he was married, that look enticed him to commit adultery, as the Bible says: “And it came to pass in the eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of king’s house: and from the roof he saw a beautiful woman washing herself; and the woman was so beautiful to look upon. And one said, is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her home” 2 Samuel 11:2-4.
And having sinned and made Bathsheba pregnant (2 Samuel 11:5), the King tried to give that pregnancy to Uriah (the woman’s husband) by causing him to return from war so as to sleep with his wife. But, God didn’t let it happen (2 Samuel 11:6-13). So, King David sent Uriah back to war, and he ordered his servant Joab to have Uriah killed, so that he could have his wife for himself. “And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were. And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.” 2 Samuel 11:14-17 KJV.
As we have seen from the Scriptures, King David ‘committed four sins as result of the bad look’. First of all, (1) he coveted Bathsheba, his soldier’s wife, thereby violating the Commandment that says “…thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife…” Exodus 20:17 KJV. Secondly, (2) he committed adultery with her, violating the Commandment that says “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14. Thirdly, (3) he killed her husband so as to have her as his wife, thereby violating the Commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13. Fourthly, having killed Uriah the Hittite, (4) he stole his wife for himself, violating the Commandment that says “Thou shalt not steal.” Exodus 20:15.
One Sin Springs into Many
See, whatever disobedience to one of God’s Commandments springs into disobedience to even more Commandments, thereby making you a breaker of all the Commandments of God. From a bad look, King David became subject to breaking over Four Commandments of God. Says the Apostle James “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill.… So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:10-12 KJV.
The Solution: Guard Your Eye
Never forget the shameful experience of King David “because of the eye”. Had he guarded his eye from beholding Bathsheba’s unclothed form, he would not have fallen into that great sin (Psalm 101:3). Job, God’s faithful servant, understood this tragedy of the eye. So, he says “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.” Job 31:1 NLT. Why would Job vow to guard his eyes? It is because Jesus says “…Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matt. 5:28 KJV. That is very true. As matter of fact, both the ancient world, in Noah’s time, and the cities of Sodom and Gomarrah were destroyed because of their adulterous eyes and sinful deeds (Gen. 6:2, 3, 5-8; 19:4-13, 24, 25). Says the Apostle Peter “…Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities…Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.” 2 Peter 2:10, 14 KJV. So, the appeal is that you and I should be like the faithful Job, guarding our eyes from anything that stimulates sexual desires (pornographic materials, obsene stories and so on). Says the Apostle Paul “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts… Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” 2 Timothy 2:22 NLT. And he goes on to say “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Ephesians 4:23 KJV. Why? Because you are product of what you behold (Matt. 14:28, 30). Says Jesus Christ “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Matt. 6:22, 23 NLT. Therefore, the only solution to overcoming this problem is keeping one’s eye from beholding any evil stimulant. Instead, learn to behold Jesus Christ in His word all day long. Like Stephen, look steadily into heaven all your lifetime so that the glory of Christ can be reflected in you (Acts 7:55, 56).
[i] The sin of Eve (Gen. 3:6); sin of David (2 Samuel 11:2-4); the teaching of Job (31:1); the sinking of Peter as he looked at the terrifying waves but the Lord Jesus (Matt. 14:28-30); the teaching of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 6:22, 23.)
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