19 Jul 2007

What about the Lust of the Eyes?

Submitted by theshovel
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Not too long ago I received an email with the subject line, “Struggling to keep my eyes off women”

Its spring time and the women [where I live] are not covered with fur coats anymore, if you know what I mean. The battle is on to keep my eyes away from what is being more revealed. I dont do very well at times. Why does this happen if I am dead to sin? Isnt that old man dead? Seems mighty alive.

Dear “Struggling”, Well, down here in south Florida we don’t have to wait for a particular season for our women to strip down to their bare essentials. I mean, why would God even give women a shape that, when revealed, drives men crazy? Then again, is it actually the shape or the selected areas of a woman’s body that fan the flames of men’s desires … or is it the perception that one’s desires can be fulfilled by what is hidden, by what is inaccessible, by what is untouchable? Otherwise, how could a man ever lose interest after having acquired the object of his passions?

The fleshly mind wants either what it does not or can not have. Cover an area, restrict its view, and watch how inflamed one can get at even the suggestion of exposure. When women covered themselves all the way down to their ankles so that men would not see their flesh it took only a flash of an uncovered ankle to send a man reeling with passion and desire. Why does it not do this to men now? Why does it take more and more exposure to achieve the same level of temptation? Perhaps it is not the body at all, but instead the perception of what’s underneath the coverings.

This is exactly the same elementary principle upon which the law of condemnation rests. The command says, DO NOT, and whatever that is becomes the very thing the flesh wants to do, the very thing it feels it MUST do. The thing that makes that old dead man seem alive is the common elementary link between the law and the flesh. You hold to a false perception, and one that I am also well acquainted with. We give this false perception imaginary power - but a power that can nevertheless control our actions - by the incessant self-talk that says, “Do not look, do not touch, do not imagine, do not contemplate, do not follow up, do not be so evil, do not be so vulgar, do not be so fleshly, do not be so sinful!”

But that’s not the whole of it, for that self-talk is intertwined with, “But it is what I want, it is what I need, it is what will fulfill me, just a look will help, just another look, why should this be denied me? why is it so wrong? how far is really too far? how much is actually too much?” You are engaged in a bogus battle, my friend. For such a struggle cannot be won by averting your eyes, nor can it be overcome by what might seem the logical alternative, that is, by overindulging the senses in hopes of dulling your desires by overexposure. Such battles are waged in the realm of deception and fought with weapons of flesh. Refuse to engage in this losing proposition. When the flesh displays itself before you, it creates a unique and living opportunity for you to reevaluate why you are drawn to it and why you feel bound by its demands. Your vacillating desires, judgments and rationalizations stirred by such encounters are all making demands as to who and what you really are. Bring them to the light so that it will become obvious to your own mind as to the insanity found in the elementary principles that seek to define you. Jim




“or is it the perception that one’s desires can be fulfilled by what is hidden, by what is inaccessible, by what is untouchable? Otherwise, how could a man ever lose interest after having acquired the object of his passions?” Yes the left over legal perceptions that are working death!
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These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: Jul-20-07 at 4:20pm by Sylvia
Thanks Jim!!

Posted: Jul-20-07 at 4:21pm by Bruce
Good stuff Jim...

You know it took me a long time to get the "sinner" mentality out of my head and to embrace my "sonship". That is to realize and embrace the Christ...in me. But then it was an equally hard battle to embrace my "humanity". Self always wants to compare itself with "others". When we realize that we all have "flesh" and we don't measure each other by it but we only see each other through the eyes of our Father...then it changes everything.

What a beautiful Day!


Posted: Jul-20-07 at 4:23pm by Charlie

A good word for us all, but especially for men!


Posted: Jul-20-07 at 4:25pm by Leo
Hi Jim. Great article. He should rejoice in this weakness..... and move on. He is putting his mind on his flesh. Bring everything To the Lord with prayer and upplications.
Blessings Pastor Leo

Posted: Jul-20-07 at 4:50pm by theshovel

Hello Leo,

Thanks for writing. Of course, having written quite extensively with this brother I suspect he would have said something similar for much of his Christian life. He has been only recently coming to terms with many religious disillusions he's held through 30 years of ministry life, and he now wants to get behind the failure of many of his past efforts at avoiding stuff like this.


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Hi Jim,
Obviously you don't agree with my thoughts. Why?
Sincerely Leo

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Hello Leo,

Your comments seemed to suggest that this brother shouldn't try to get to the bottom of why he responds as he does. You may not have meant it that way, but that's how it came across to me and so I wrote what I did for your consideration. :)


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Dear Jim, If I could write as well as you do maybe I could explain my statement better. The Lord not me said to rejoice in our weakness,not me. He didn't say dwell on it. I went to Doc's for years for them to figure out why I felt bad after the Vietnam era. When I came to Christ I realized I was what I was by what I was thinking of coarse they drugged me with Valium for years. Getting to the bottom is BS. I.E: Drunks go to AA. To sober up, right?
The very thing causing the problem is the very sin they talk about the whole time they are in AA., what nonsense. Jim it's not unusual to lust. I would think the brother is trying to justify where his thoughts are?could he be a cry baby?
Respectfully in Christ Leo

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I'm a big advocate of communication. I write in such a way as to stimulate more of it, not to cut it off and definitely not to suggest that my way is somehow superior. The fact is that I'm hit more often with comments as to confusion over what I wrote than to having explained it well. I'm not concerned with hearing a "better" statement from you (i.e. one more like mine) but with connecting through our own ways. And now I think we're really communicating! :)

I, too, see the whole AA program as a self-perpetuating cycle. It's funny you brought it up now as I just commented on it to someone else this week, and then on the Shovel Shack discussion forum another brother printed out the 12 steps asking if others noticed a similarity between the steps and the "Christian Life" we learned apart from the miraculousness of Christ. Years ago, we took my very young daughter to a long-term drug-rehab program where the parents were heavily involved (it used a modified version of the 12-step program, slimming it down to 7 steps).

No doubt they made some very good points, but it was basically the same kind of legal system created by the religious Christian community. There were in fact numerous religious Christian families involved, including a few "pastors". Some of the more "dedicated" Christians/Christian leaders jumped ship and pulled their child out of the program because they couldn't handle the uncovering of their own failed systems of belief; others simply transferred their dedication from the Christianity that couldn't help to the new program that actually seemed to help them break free ... at least for a time.

I know what you mean by the BS of getting to the bottom, and I fully agree. There was always that hope held out that someone would finally hit rock bottom. The only problem was that each new "rock bottom" proved to not be the real bottom. This is just as true in the world of AA as it is in the religious mind of Christianity. I'm not suggesting that at all. Actually, what this brother needs to get to the bottom of is the same thing you describe: the realization that all his religious beliefs ARE the problem.

I know that this guy is just like anyone else regarding lust. For him, after 30 years of religious indoctrination as a missionary, to be told that he needs to rejoice in his weakness and move on is something he understands according to his program. He heard it for years. You may not hear those words in that way, but I can tell you based upon my own past indoctrination (as well as some of my other communication with him) that he's heard those words for years and years and all they would suggest to him is to try to "do" what he unsuccessfully tried to do before.

While your coming to Christ came in the midst of the BS of fleshly attempts at handling your problems, others come to Christ in the midst of a religious "Christian" climate that blurs the obvious distinctions you would have seen in a heartbeat. What happens in such an environment causes the words of freedom to be heard according to the religious mind of the flesh.

No, it's not unusual to lust, but now that he is considering for the first time in his life that the old has died in Christ he was expecting some kind of "miraculous" change because of it. His learned religious mentality assumed this problem would have to go away if what he is now seeing is really true. The conflict and letdown he is experiencing is all part of his realization of how deeply the religious mind has demanded it to be. For him, getting to the bottom of this is to realize that the religious mind IS the fleshly mind, especially as it relates to how to handle his "lusting problem".

Jim :)

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Thanks Jim.
Thank You Christ for indwelling Jim.
Later Friend.

Posted: Jul-20-07 at 4:52pm by Chris

How are you brother? Great tip here. I like the way you dealt with that.

Posted: Jul-20-07 at 4:53pm by Judy
You're good! (and obviously led by The One Who's in charge!) Peace... :)

Love is the answer!

A few things come to mind about this discussion, but more notably about the original post (and the person who asked about the issue). During the time of my initial turning to God (aka “repentance and confession”), when HE came, HE set me free from stuff like this at the outset. Now, we should be delicate about context here too. This is not to say that I never see an attractive woman and don’t notice her, but it IS to say that the old automatic response of lust is not there any longer. There is a choice, yes, but it’s not any harder than choosing Coke over Pepsi (or vice versa) at mealtime. “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” is an actionable Gift from God, whereas all conscience of guilt and sin is surgically removed so to speak. Due to the complexities of individuals, there is no blanket how-to statement about how a person does this, except that if they turn to God utterly and completely HE can change you within. For me, it was a time of repentance and confession until God showed up and said “Enough!”.. at which point HE changed my inner nature rather actionably. The measure of His work in me is rather like what Charles Finney speaks of in his biography (Chapter 2), although I’m not a fan of that guy’s theology really.

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