“I made a Covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”
As men, we think that we are strong enough that we will not be mastered by anything. This mindset and prideful thinking allows us to get into situations that we never thought we would find ourselves in. You see, sin is conceived in our hearts and minds long before it finds it’s way out into our actions or reactions. In it’s basic terms, “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). In other words, just as a river feeding a pond will eventually cause the pond to overflow it’s banks, so what we allow into our hearts and minds through our eyes and ears will overflow out of our mouths and conceive actions.
We are warned of this natural course of events in Galatians 6:7,8: “do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Building on this concept of a man sowing and reaping, we can imagine a man’s life being divided into numerous gardens that require his attention, care, cultivation, and sowing. These consist of the garden of his wife, another for each child, one for work, one for his personal time, and one for his own spiritual walk. How, as well as what type of seed a man sows into his various gardens determines what grows for him.
If a man either by neglect or choice fails cultivate and sow healthy seed into his spiritual garden then it’s plants will wither and die. Then there will be nothing to feed on, or overflow out of this area when the circumstances have need of it. Additionally, whether it is the spiritual garden or another, if he fails to properly cultivate it, identifying weeds and pulling them out at the root immediately, then soon the garden in question will be overcome by weeds to the point of overflowing. It is also important to note that the health of one garden will affect the surrounding gardens.
So a mans primary garden to be cultivated, weeded, and watered should be his own spiritual garden, as it also will provide strength, resources, and nourishment to the other gardens in his life. “Remove the log in your own eye before removing the speck in your brothers eye.” (Matthew 7:4,5). The health and well bring of his own garden then spills over into the care and cultivation of his wife and kids. But this first means removing the little foxes and weeds from his own garden. This means choosing to flee the immoral woman (1 Cor. 6:18), whether on television, on the Internet, in an advertisement, or walking down the street.
This means “taking every though captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) so that we do not give the devil a foot hold (Eph. 4:27) in our gardens.
Admittedly, it is a difficult thing to do. After all, men were made to be visually oriented (remember that was a blessing when it comes to providing protection for his family). Yet, many men figure there is no harm in admiring a pretty woman as she walks past. Put mildly, this is how a slippery slope operates. Eventually, once the seed has been planted and watered enough, the eyes will no longer be satisfied with what they once were. This is how even the most dedicated of Christian men move from ads featuring women, to pornography addiction. And this is how the same man can go from a simple, playful flirt with a coworker or stranger to adultery.
This is how King David went from observing Bathsheba bathing on the roof, to committing adultery, to murdering one of his Mighty Men. This is how King Solomon found himself with 300 wives and 700 concubines, and still saying that having them all was not satisfying but chasing after the wind.
We become dissatisfied with the blessing God has given us, and lust after something else. This is why one of the qualifications for elder stated by Paul requires the man to be the husband of one wife (1 Tim 3:2; Titus 1:6) this indicates that he does not lust after other women but tends and cultivates his garden with his wife.
When a man focuses on his wife and does not lust after other women, or compare his wife to the other women he sees, then a process begins to take shape that I like to call ‘the ship-effect.’ When a military ship leaves port and goes to sea, the only people that the crew sees and interacts with are the other crew members. The longer they are underway, the more attractive the members of the opposite sex begin to be. The same can be true when a Godly husband leaves port and focuses his eyes and desire for his wife alone. Proverbs 5:18,19 says: “rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love.” This can only be true when a man’s heart and eyes solely belong to and long for his wife.
What do you allow your eyes to see and even to study?
What condition is your heart and mind in?
What is the condition of your personal garden and the garden with your spouse?
Left turn: enjoy all that your eyes can see and try to prove King Solomon wrong.
Right turn: choose the path less traveled, and turn your eyes and heart back to God and your spouse.
Challenge: make a covenant with your eyes to not look lustfully at another woman and focus all your attention on your bride. (when you fail repent and start again – don’t give up the fight to break-free from this pattern).