by Steve Etner
You’re at the checkout lane of your local department store. The gal behind the register rang up the last item and tells you the total. As you reach for your credit card, she bends over to grab a bag for your merchandise. Her top falls open and you have the perfect view—so your eyes lock on and begin to feast.
Question: at that moment, would you reach across the conveyor belt and slip your hand down her top? Seriously now, would you? Of course not. Why not? Because it’s wrong—right?
What about when you’re at the beach and a couple of young bombshells walk past your blanket? It certainly can’t hurt to appreciate their beauty, can it? After all, it’s not my fault they’re so poorly dressed! It’s just a harmless glance. Who’s it hurting? It’s not like I’m hopping in bed with them!
When you’re checking out the photo album of a friend on Facebook, and they’ve posted a picture of themselves in a skimpy bathing suit, or you’re lingering over the underwear section of the department store catalog that comes in the mail—is that wrong? What about when you walk by the Victoria’s Secret store in the mall? You can’t be held responsible for what you see, can you?
Jesus said: “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Stop! Before you read any more, read that verse again. Now read it one more time. Would you consider Jesus to be a reasonably reliable source on this subject? Do you think that maybe, just maybe we ought to listen to him and take this seriously?
God says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Proverbs 27:19 tells us that “as water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” In other words, what we think becomes what we do. So when I am looking lustfully at a woman, God says I’m already committing adultery with her in my heart. It’s the same as if we were hopping in bed together!
In our example of the gal at the register of the department store, when you look down her top, you are touching her with your eyes, and your brain is getting a sexual high from that touch. Do you realize that every pornographic image you see, every bikini-clad girl draped over the hood of a car in those magazines you linger over, every woman you have ever undressed in your mind—every one of them—you have committed adultery with? This is serious.
Peter puts it this way: “With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning” (2 Peter 2:14).
How do our eyes get “full of adultery”? By looking with lust on another woman (Matthew 5:28). That’s why Job made a covenant with his eyes to never look with lust (Job 31:1). He understood that the moment he looked upon a woman to get sexual satisfaction from her, he was committing adultery. What we see, the things we look at and expose ourselves to, play a vital role in how we live for God. With eyes full of adultery we will never stop sinning.
God says in Proverbs 17:24 that “a discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” Where you let your eyes wander, what you allow yourself to see (or not see) determines whether you are wise or a fool.
To be pure you must daily “cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on” (Ezekiel 20:7). Determine, as Micah did, that “as for me, I will look to the Lord” (Micah 7:7).
Photo credit: dcarlbom
Steve Etner is a national men’s speaker, author, and Purity Coach with The Pure Man Ministry. His book, Extreme Mind Makeover: How to Transform Sinful Habits into God-Pleasing Patterns of Life, and his conferences, seminars, and retreats focus on what God has to say about the way we think and the impact it has on our behavior. Teaching men how to live in moral purity by equipping them with Biblical answers, Steve’s goal is for men to have a re-ignited passion for Jesus and learn how to prepare their minds to successfully overcome their temptations and thus live pure lives for Christ.
Do women also commit adultery because they also look lustfully to men
Yes, they do. I think he was just telling his own story.
Anyone looking at a person (other than their spouse) to get sexual satisfaction or stimulation would be committing adultery. However, men are more easily aroused by sight than women are. That’s not to say that women can’t, won’t or don’t, it just comes more naturally for a man. I think it’s easier for women to stop the thought process before it goes too far. It is a temptation, but with every temptation God makes a way of escape (I Cor 10:13) and, we can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13).
Actually, the problem is that men have been taught to repress and deny their emotions. “Big boys don’t cry.” They have been carefully taught to ignore their emotions and any early warning signals that something might be wrong inside of themselves. Instead, they are taught to ignore and ignore and ignore, until they act out. “Boys will be boys.” It’s “normal” for men to act out sexually in our culture, and we have created all sorts of excuses, like “more naturally aroused by sight,” to explain why this is so. If we could stop treating our boys this way and instead raise them to be emotionally intelligent human beings, we would avoid a world of hurt. We can indeed to all things through Christ. I just wish we’d get started on raising emotionally intelligent men sooner rather than later, for all our sakes. Peace to you, Kay