Have you ever noticed that there is a pattern of sin that Scripture presents for us? A common road that leads to the falling into temptation and downward spiral. We first SEE something that tempts us, that is followed by a DESIRE for it, and then we TAKE it to our peril. Eve’s sin began with her SEEING that the forbidden tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and DESIRABLE to make one wise and then she TOOK from the tree and ate (Genesis 3:6). Likewise, the sinful mixed marriages of the godly Sethites and ungodly descendants of Cain all took place when the sons of God SAW that the daughters of men were good in appearance; and they TOOK wives for themselves, whomever they chose (Genesis 6:2). Clearly implied in the text is that they must have DESIRED these ones for them to take them as their wives. Achan’s sin was characterized by his SEEING the beautiful mantle from Shinar and the shekels of silver and gold, coveting or DESIRING them, and then TAKING them (Joshua 7:21). Samson SEES a woman in Timnah and then asks his parents to TAKE her for him as a wife (Judges 14:2). Evidently, he had to have a DESIRE for her in order to want to take her for his wife. For David, his sin with Bathsheba began with SEEING the woman bathing and the DESIRE communicated in inquiring more about her resulting in him having his messengers TAKE her to him (2 Samuel 11:2-4). It is always the same pattern. One fixes their eyes on something forbidden that develops a sinful desire for it which eventually leads them to take it, committing sin.
Perhaps it should be emphasized that what all these SAW was not sinful in and of itself but was sinful due to the fact that it was something that God had forbidden them from taking. It was something He expressly had indicated was off limits for them. The entrance ramp to the road to their disobedience was setting their eyes upon that which God had commanded them not to take. Keep in mind as well that Jesus says that adultery actually takes place in the heart with the lustful look at one who is not their spouse (Matthew 5:28). It has been said about our eyes, "At these windows Satan throws in those fiery darts which pierce and poison the heart."
With this being the case, how careful must be with what we put before our eyes, especially those things which we may be more susceptible to be temped by? Don’t think that such does not matter or won’t have any effect on you. All of these sins started with an extended look at something. While we may not be responsible for the first glance at it, we certainly are for a continual fixation upon it. As Martin Luther put it, “Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.” David would have done well to not have given Bathsheba another look or thought. There would have been no adulterous affair then or murder. He would have avoided horrendous sin and the pain which resulted from it. In fact, the sin would have been stopped right there in its tracks. Matthew Henry put it this way, "The way of sin is downhill; a man cannot stop himself when he will. The beginning of it is as the breaking forth of water, to which it is hard to say, 'Hitherto thou shalt come and no further.' Therefore it is our wisdom to suppress the first emotions of sin, and to leave it off before it be meddled with." There is wisdom in following Job's example to make a covenant with your eyes not to look at that which God had forbidden (Job 31:1).
There is more to the simple children’s song than we realize that states “Be careful little eyes what you see.” The journey from your mind to your hand is shorter than you’re thinking. We need to guard our eyes and be very careful what they are directed to. Better yet, we should seek to fix our eyes on Jesus and cultivate a greater desire for Him to keep us from fixing our eyes on what God has forbidden and desiring it to lead us into sin. When our gaze is upon Him, we cannot look upon sin long but when our eyes our fixated on sin, we will not be able to see Him in His glory and will follow down that road to the giving into that sin unless we turn to look back to the Lord prior to. With the aid of God's grace, let's seek to "turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full into His wonderful face" so that the sins of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace" where we will not follow through the common perilous pattern of sin.
Love in Christ,