Friday, February 24, 2012

What Are You Looking At?

Everywhere we look in today’s world we see monuments to man’s ingenuity, creativity, and lusts: skyscrapers; cars and planes; billboards and screens flashing seductive images; logos symbolizing corporate power and wealth. In some cities these all but crowd out the evidence of God’s wondrous creation – majestic landscapes, beautiful flowers and trees, and amazing animals (John 1:3). Many deny or tend to forget that we too are God’s creation, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

Whatever idols we have fashioned to indulge our eyes, these are only possible through the gifts of intelligence, artistry, and resources God has entrusted to us (James 1:17). How sad that many pervert these gifts to mock Him rather than to glorify Him, and that many feast their eyes on images of the world’s darkness rather than His light. Yet what we look at affects who and what we are.

Luke 11:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

God’s Word gives us clear warnings about what not to look at -- we should “set no wicked thing before [our] eyes” (Psalm 101:3). We should not look back at the attractions and preoccupations of our lives before we were saved (Luke 9:62; Genesis 19:26).

The Bible is full of examples where the “lust of the eyes” (1 John 2:16) has led to sin, including Eve beholding the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6) and David spying on Bathsheba washing herself (2 Samuel 11:2).

Jesus warned so sternly of this danger that He said:

Mark 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. (see also Matthew 5:29; 18:9).

As always, God exchanges His good gifts for our sinful desires, so He indicates what we should be looking at instead, and the blessings that will result.

In Exodus, the laver (washbasin) of brass, an important piece of furniture of the tabernacle, was made of looking glasses (mirrors) donated by the women coming to worship (Exodus 38:8). Although their custom had been to bring their personal mirror with them to the temple to check on their appearance, they surrendered them so that God’s house would be glorified. What a great reminder to spend less time primping in the mirror and more time worshipping God!

As we turn away from sinful and evil images, here is what God says we should look at instead:

--The beauty of God’s creation, which reflects His glory (Psalm 19:1).

--The Godly example set by our spiritual mentors, teachers and pastors (Psalm 101:6).

--The fields of unsaved souls ripe for harvest (John 4:35), considering how we can “open their eyes, and… turn them from darkness to light” (Acts 26:18).

--Jesus Christ, Lamb of God (John 1:36), the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), Who gives us life and light (2 Corinthians 4: 3-6; Numbers 21:8).

--His Word, which is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105).

--The heavens, which remind us that He is waiting to receive us (Acts 7:55) and that He is coming back to meet us in the air (Luke 21:28; Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:13).

As we shift our focus from the world to heavenly things, we will be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), which will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Look up and live!

38 comments:

  1. Thanks so much, Denise! I really appreciate your kind words -- you are a blessing!
    Laurie

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  2. Thanks for your encouragement, A Skeptic's Journey!
    Love and blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  3. A well written post. However, there is something I love about a city, the bustling and the pulsating of life within it. Maybe that was because as a child I grew up in a city.
    But since I became a Christian in 1973, my appreciation for natural wonders also began to grow, realising God's creation, without my love for the city diminishing. This became the basis for becoming a world backpacker before I married in 1999. There were cities I stayed at and enjoyed. But there were also natural wonders that I loved: The Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Great Barrier Reef, and in my home country (the UK) I enjoyed hiking through the Lake District National Park and the Jurassic Coast Trail.

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  4. Thanks, Frank! I didn't mean to disparage cities -- there are many beautiful sights and unique experiences I have enjoyed in Paris, Venice, Hong Kong, Osaka, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Washington, Boston, Tampa, and others. But for the most part, I much prefer visiting a city rather than living there. They have done studies showing that stress levels and blood pressure, rise when subjects look at pictures of city buildings, highways, and other manmade objects, and go back down when they look at landscapes. There is a beach in Kerry, Ireland where my son, husband and I sat for hours just gazing at the waves and the sun streaming through the clouds -- you could just imagine Jesus walking on the water.
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  5. Great post.

    The materials to build the buildings roads and signs all come from him, the mental capacity to design and the ability to construct them is the result of his power, and even being alive to imagine those things is a result of his action. It is sad so many never look beyond men's constructions to see his power.

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  6. My post this week is a reflection of my gifts from the sea with photos from nature that always bring me closer to Him- I'm looking at Him no matter what I'm seeing! :) God bless!

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  7. Thanks, dfish! Without Him, we can do nothing.
    Have a blessed week in Him,
    Laurie

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  8. Dear Kelli,
    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! The seashore is a wonderful place to be reminded of God's power and creativity. Awesome photos!
    Laurie

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  9. yes, finding joy and goodness in creation. my heart feels most at home here, too.

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  10. Amen, Tara! Thanks so much for visiting and for your comment.
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  11. Psalm 19:1 is one of my favorites :) You must let me know next time you head for Don Pedro - we are right there- we have a fishing charter business in Boca Grande! We'll have a quick hug & a bloggy meet-up! God bless-

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  12. Great point! We need to remember that all gifts come from the Lord! Our talents, skills and "brain-power" are not ours, they are the Lord's. He is the one who enables us to do the things we do. We need to remember that and give praise to Him and not ourselves!

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  13. Hi Kelli,
    Sorry to say our schedules have kept us away from Don Pedro for way too long, but I'll let you next time we head down there!
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  14. Thanks, Joan! All good and perfect gifts come from above. We can't even take our next breath unless He wills it, so to Him be all the glory!
    May you have a blessed week!
    Laurie

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  15. When I was younger, I thought, that problem of "lust of eyes" isn't my problem. I thought, that it is normal behaviour. But some months after my conversion, I got the sign from God, that something is wrong and I stopped making all bad things which I made. Fight with lust isn't easy, but I believe that Jesus is stronger than my weakness.
    My blog is activ now.
    God bless You.

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  16. Dear Zim,
    Thank you for sharing your insights and experience. He Who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world.
    God's blessings to you.
    Laurie

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  17. Dear Joyful,
    Thanks so much for your comment and for following!
    God bless you,
    Laurie

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  18. I love this message, Laurie. We do need to be discerning about where we look and what we spend our time on. Such wise words.

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  19. Hi Laurie - this reminds me of that scripture in Phil about "think on whatever is good, wholesome, etc etc" if we should think on good things, why not only allow our eyes to see good things. Great post.
    God bless
    Tracy

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  20. Thanks, Laura! So true about time as well -- Satan so easily distracts us from what God wants us to spend it on. I pray each day to be a good steward of time, money, talents and resources.
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  21. Hi Tracy,
    Great point about Phil. 4:8! Thanks for the encouragement, and God bless!
    Laurie

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  22. There are so many beautiful things to look at in our world. We should focus on these things. Thank you for sharing this encouraging post.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  23. visiting from Thought provoking Thursday... I've been thinking on the eyes, too.

    This verse is in the forefront of my mind...
    Psalm 25:15 Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.

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  24. Thanks Charlotte, for your encouraging comment! You are a blessing!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  25. Dear Julie Anne, Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, and for the great verse! If we keep our eyes on His face, all else will fade from our view.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  26. God did indeed create a beautiful world!

    http://theemptynestexpress.com

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    Replies
    1. Amen, Ms. Kathleen!
      Blessings to you!
      Laurie

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  27. I found this interesting... "Although their custom had been to bring their personal mirror with them to the temple to check on their appearance, they surrendered them so that God’s house would be glorified."

    I could spend much time "reflecting" on that alone.

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  28. Very inspirational. Great post! Coming from your link on Best Posts of the Week. :)

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  29. Thanks, Tricia, for visiting & commenting! We read through the Bible each year, and in our daily reading, the verses about the mirrors caught my attention for the first time and were the inspiration for this blog post. It's amazing how God's Word always has something fresh for us!
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  30. Thanks, Kevin, for the kind words and comment!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  31. Great post again Laurie!

    Thanks for linking up, blessed by you!

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  32. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Laura! You're a blessing!
    Have a wonderful week in Him,
    Laurie

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  33. Excellent post, Laurie!

    Many blessings,
    Joan

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  34. Thanks, Joan, I appreciate it!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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