Most men get burned in the first 4 seconds.
In 4 seconds you go from looking at someone, to forming a thought about them, to choosing whether you will look again, to choosing whether you will dwell on them in your mind. If that “someone” is attractive, and you’re a guy, those four seconds can lead to lust…fast. Call it “fast-lust” – it’s a quick downward spiral into disconnection with God because sin has conceived in your heart.
Count it off for yourself and you’ll agree: The glance…one-thousand-one…the thought…one-thousand-two…the second look…one thousand three…the dwell…one thousand four. It happens that fast, and it often doesn’t end at four seconds.
But there’s a way to short-circuit that pattern: Avert your eyes. Look away. Don’t look twice.
Job said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” (Job 31:1) Why did he say that?
If you think about it, it all starts with the look. Well, it really starts with a decision about what you’re going to do with the look, because you can’t always control what you see the first time. But you can definitely control whether you look again, as well as what you do with the thoughts that form from that look. What Job is saying is that he made the decision ahead of time, before the young woman came into view. The decision not to look lustfully at her was therefore pre-determined. He couldn’t control that there might be an attractive young woman who crossed his path in the course of a day. But he could control what he did with his eyes after the first glance. And he explains why he made the covenant with his eyes two verses later (Job 31:3)…because lust = wickedness, and wickedness = disaster.
I’ll speak for myself here – but I can usually tell someone is attractive before I ever look their way. And so I’ve implemented an even greater form of protection for my eyes – and that is not even to look the first time. That prevents the temptation to look twice, because I’ve avoided looking once. Now it’s taken some time to develop this discipline – but it keeps me out of trouble, and with practice it has almost become a reflex. Attractive woman approaching = look the other way. Seem extreme? Maybe. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And these times are desperately filled with sexual images and women that like to flaunt their beauty and bodies, and I don’t want to be hamstrung by sexual sin that hinders my connection with God.
Have you ever referred to a woman as “eye candy”? If so, you’ve likely lusted after her. Think about it. You don’t just pop candy, wrapper and all, into your mouth and swallow it. You unwrap it. You savor it. You think about the taste. You enjoy it. Then you swallow it.
Anyone you think of as eye candy has become an object of lust to you. Let me say right here that if you’re married, I hope you consider your spouse to be eye candy – and that you savor them regularly. That’s candy that won’t rot your spiritual teeth.
So why is lust so bad for us? Because lust is sin. And sin disconnects you from God, even if it is temporary. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The pure see God because they haven’t been separated from Him by sin.
I want to see Him in everything, every day. So I’ve decided to avert my eyes. Of course I’m not perfect. But when I miss it, I repent and make the covenant again.
Seconds matter, because seconds turn into minutes, hours, days, years and lifetimes. If we can stop sin before it starts, we stand to gain a lifetime of purity, a lifetime of seeing God. Break the pattern. Avert your eyes.
Image credit: George Hodan – publicdomainpictures.net