Love your Eyes, Guard your Heart
We live in an age where we have never had so much to distract us, speak into our lives, numb us, help us try to escape. At the heart of most people’s home is a fifty inch HD screen of technical brilliance and masterful clarity of speech. In reality these are spiritual funnels into the hearts of your family. Media bombards us with news, opinion, entertainment. It’s ceaseless and almost none of it carries the prophetic voice of the Holy Spirit. Given that the world is under the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), this shouldn’t surprise us.
“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes” Ps 101:3
“So above all, guard the affections of your heart,
for they affect all that you are.
Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
for from there flows the wellspring of life.
24 Avoid dishonest speech and pretentious words.
Be free from using perverse words no matter what!
25 Set your gaze on the path before you.
With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead,
ignore life’s distractions.
26 Watch where you’re going!
Stick to the path of truth,
and the road will be safe and smooth before you.
27 Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment
or take the detour that leads to darkness.” Prov 4:23-27
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32
Here is a truth we need to understand. What we focus on, we connect with. What we agree with, we empower. When we agree with or abide in truth, Jesus and His word, we empower God. When we agree with a lie, we empower the liar, Satan.
Where do you abide?
Everything we watch and listen to carries “a yeast”, it grows, conditions and disciples us. Discipleship is not just reserved for Sunday morning, Wednesday evening or a church building. We like to compartmentalise, but the spirit realm is teaming with activity, different voices, it is no respecter of persons, or places and it never shuts off. We shouldn't be so surprised when our life falls apart through bad decisions, uncontrolled emotions and addictions if we turn to Hollywood, the newspapers, magazines or Netflix for counsel, entertainment and escape.
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Rom 8:6
You might disagree, to many this will sound overly intense and kill joy, but I have learnt this lesson the hard way. The truth is every time you shut off and come under these forms of “entertainment” you are being slowly conditioned. You are ingesting “death” in all its putrid forms every time you drink from these toxic rivers. Instead of tasting of “life” and “peace” through focussing on the word of God, your soul (mind, will and emotions) is being contaminated by cynicism, unrighteous anger, offence, sarcasm, violence, death, divorce, adultery, careless fornication, lust, humanism, pride, entitlement and unbelief. The putrid list goes on. This is what makes drama! God is never honoured, Jesus only ever a curse word, Hollywood never blesses the church, believers are always portrayed as twisted, sour, useless at best, perverted and dangerous at worst. And yet we spend hours and well-earned money just letting this stuff wash over us and through us.
“Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.” Ps 119:36-37
Many of you can relate to what I’m saying. That's why you feel unsatisfied and restless even if you have had an adrenaline rush in a box set or read the negative diagnosis on a political situation or caught up on the celebrity gossip. Some of you feel dirty and have to pray after you’ve watched something. You are born (again) for different oxygen. I’m not wanting to lay down a law here. You are free! But have some discernment and wisdom.
And watch who you do life with; “Bad company corrupts good morals”, but that’s another message. Always look for what and whom brings life and peace. Be holy, set apart from the world so that you can go into the world carrying that redemption to the lost and broken. Learn to feed day and night from the word of God, to keep your mind fixed on Jesus,to meditate upon the truth, things that are lovely and of good report, filled with thanksgiving.
So many of us wonder why we are constantly fighting worry, why we aren't walking in peace that surpasses understanding, purity and dead raising faith? (Rom 10:17, Phil 4:8). Look what we have been pouring into our system. You wouldn’t expect a sports car to run well off dodgy gas, or an Olympic athlete off daily McDonalds, so why do we expect to walk like Jesus Christ, glisten with love, peace and joy, have healthy relationships, sleigh giants and turn the world upside down if we are spending more time in the world's pulpit than in the river of God's Spirit?
We can’t turn the world upside down if we feast on it! You become what you eat - how you think (Prov 23:7). Church, come out from among them! Be holy and set apart. Love holiness, hate evil. You and I might say we are serious about God but the only thing which backs up that claim is our diary, what we actually did with our time, the things we watched and listened to and what we you said yes and no to.
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63
We need to throw out Christian fatalism that is epidemic in the sleeping, apathetic, defeated church. This fatalism says it’s God’s will that I go through this and that, when actually you have a choice to be transformed by the renewing of your mind and to take authority over things that you are currently and in some case for many years fallen victim to.
Friends, Israel went around the mountain for 40 years and so are many Christians. They are not entering their promised land because they (like Isarel) have refused to learn God’s ways. Don’t let that be you. Don’t believe the marketing spin. Cut every broken cisterns out of your life. Only Jesus and His words give true life, real joy and victory as we pass through this fallen world. Saints, love your eyes, guard your heart.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
“Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.” John 17:17