From 1985 to 1987, I served in a two-year missions internship in Gympie, Queensland, Australia.  It was one of the most spiritually formative experiences of my life.  In addition to the joys and challenges of working with a local congregation and the opportunity to grow and mature in my faith and ministry, there was the bonus of living in Australia! 

On a day off from regular ministry responsibilities, my co-worker’s son Shane Drollinger and I joined our mutual friend Scott Roff for a long hike through Noosa National Park on the Sunshine Coast.  Scott’s girlfriend Rhonda dropped us off at the southern end of the park with a plan to rendezvous with us later in the day at the other end of the trail.  The hike took us past interesting coastal features and formations like Devil’s Kitchen, Lion Rock, and Hell’s Gates.

Our jaunt led us down a steep descent onto an extended, isolated stretch of beach in Alexandria Bay.  As we plodded along through the sand next to the breaking waves, we drew nearer to a large group of beachgoers about halfway down the bay.  Before I even noticed anything unusual, Scott said, “Oh man, I forgot!  Alexandria Beach is a nude beach!”  He was right.  While not an officially designated area for nudists, the beach was very remote, accessible only by hiking trails, and served as a haven for those who didn’t want to be encumbered by swimsuits.   

There was no turning back or detouring at this point.  Shane was about 18 years old at the time, getting ready to head to the States to attend Harding University, and I felt a strong sense of obligation to offer some counsel to my younger brother in Christ.  We were far enough along that we could clearly make out the rock formations at the northern end of the beach where the trail resumed.  I said something like, “Shane, see those rocks at the end of the beach?  Just keep your eyes on the rocks!”  I told him I would do the same. So onward we marched, right through the men, women, and children playing in the sand and splashing in the surf; sort of like the Israelites going through the Red Sea!

I wasn’t yet familiar with Job 31:1, but it would have been very appropriate and applicable to our circumstances and the pact that we made with one another.  “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” 

Every Christian, especially every Christian man, needs to enter into such a covenant with their eyes.  Our eyes are windows into our hearts.  Visual images are powerful, and they are permanent.  They can draw us closer to God and deeper into faith, or they can fan the flames of lust and lead us further into sin.  Sometimes we say of a rather clumsy person that he or she is “an accident waiting to happen.”  Lust is just sex waiting to happen; all that is lacking is the right circumstance and the opportune moment.

Pornographic addiction continues to run rampant in our culture, and it is no respecter of persons.  Satan doesn’t just employ its allure among unbelievers and worldly pleasure seekers; our Adversary is all too well acquainted with its effectiveness in enslaving the hearts of disciples, with those serving in ministry showing no greater immunity than anyone else.

Make the covenant!  Discipline your body and exercise Spirit-empowered control over your eyes.  Know your weaknesses.  Be sensitized to the first warning signals of lust.  Fight the second glance and overcome the prolonged gaze.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8-9).  If we are to achieve this goal, our eyes must be mutually committed and integrally connected with our hearts and minds.       

 “I will set before my eyes no vile thing” (Psalm 101:3).

Advertisements