I am sick to my soul with carnality.
Summertime, 2006. My wife and I are standing in the checkout line at the Target store, when I notice a 20-something girl in the next line over wearing a long, white, see-through shirt-dress. At first glance, it looks as though she has nothing on underneath (yes, it was that thin, that fine, and translucent!). Then I notice the little black thong string up around her waistline. I cannot help myself. I blurt out right there in line, “God, please strike me blind!” But it was too late. The image was burned into my mind. I can hear the 20-something guy in line in front of me quietly chuckle to himself.
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:62 (RSV)
Why did I blurt that out for all to hear? Because once again, with my hand to the plow, I “looked back” to the old way of living and found it appealing. My flesh was once again at war with the Spirit of Holiness.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Romans 7:14-25 (RSV)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:16 -21 (RSV)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”
Matthew 5:27-29 (RSV)
Job said something that, from the first time I read it, I thought to myself, “How in the world did he do that?!? There’s no way! That’s impossible!”
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?I am still at a loss how he kept such a “covenant with his eyes”.
Job 31:1 (ESV)
Oh, and just so you know… the word gaze? We are not talking about a glance or a casual look. In Hebrew the word means…
Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. HGK1067
- to realize, i.e., hear and apprehend information (Ne 13:7);
- perceive, see, i.e., receive information through the eye-gate (Job 9:11);
- look closely, see with the eyes and have perception and judgment about what is seen (1Ki 3:21);
- understand, i.e., comprehend information and be able make proper decisions, judgments, and actions based on the information (Job 32:9); have wisdom (Ps 119:100);
- think about, ponder, i.e., process information, and so respond in an appropriate manner (Dt 32:7);
- distinguish, i.e., have knowledge and respond appropriately (1Ki 3:9);
- consider with full attention, think about, ponder, i.e., process information, and so respond in an appropriate manner (Job 23:15);
Us guys are wired visually, and you gals obviously understand that with crystal clarity. Now, if I could just learn to make the same covenant with my eyes that Job did… and be able to KEEP IT!
I know, I know. You all are going to quote me Philippians 4:13. Thanks. I’ll be sure to remind you of that same verse the next time you find yourself struggling with an issue, too. [grin]