Distractions can bring on a slow fade and a subtle drift. Soon we are in a place we never thought we would be. Things that catch our attention and amaze us can be so subtle but powerful. The glance turns to gaze and the gaze turns into an action that creates consequences, we can all lose our way. The Psalmist said in Psalms 119:176 “I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.” It is only a matter of time and the right circumstance that we will act on what is in our hearts. We are all capable of anything because of our old sin nature.
The eye is the window of the soul. What we look at leaves an imprint – the longer we look the deeper the impression is. What catches our attention? We are all wired to have a spirit of wonder, good or bad.
The atmosphere can send subliminal messages that can cause restlessness and discontentment. Often our focus can be on what we don’t have rather than enjoying what we do have. The thought projected is “you are missing out on something or someone”, “things will never change”- “you are heading towards a dead end.” It is easy to go through the motions and seek stimulation for the “quick emotional fix” to pacify our hearts. In doing this we can become like a walking dead man.
Wandering eye is symptomatic of dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction is wantonness for something that God hasn’t provided. This leads to restlessness which creeps in subtlety and takes residence. Eventually, as values shift, the world becomes our teacher rather than the wisdom of God. Pleasure and comfort become a huge motivation and the myopic cycle begins. The apostle Paul warned young Timothy about this, 1 Timothy 5:6 “But she who lives for pleasure is dead even while she is still alive.”
1 John 2:16 show us 3 patterns that lead to restlessness.
• Lust of the Eyes – Gazing at that which God hasn’t given
• Lust of the Flesh – Reaching for that which God has given
• Pride of Life – Living in a spirit that God hasn’t given
Idols will divide our heart. A thing that is out of balance and takes the place of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives is an idol. Pornography is a secret, yet epidemic vice that causes wandering. This pseudo love begins to rewire our brain to be desensitized to intimacy; women become a possession rather than a precious gift. Consumption takes over rather than giving and serving. Idols steal your soul and selfishness ruins and harden the heart. What is the way out?
Often our emotional need is elevated over reality. Often what we want is not always what we need. Taking every thought captive means having our eyes on Jesus and having a”diet” of the truth. I can still hear in the back of my head my instructor in seminary – “Can I have your attention?! Eyes front, feet flat on the floor!” Seizing our attention can cause whiplash but it will reveal in whose grip we are in? Refocusing and concentration, this is the key to growth. Single-eyed and thinking believers have a sense of awareness and foresight. Thinking in truth is our defense.
Take every thought captive
The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 – The apostle Paul is dogmatic about taking every thought captive. The original meaning is to hold our thoughts at “spear point!” The truth will interrogate your thoughts and hold hostage each thief that would want to steal the truth. Satan objective is to make us dull so that we stop receiving those things that produce life in our heart. A “diet” of truth is critical to victory. The promises of God are an anchor that keeps us in the right place. Truth moves us from stimulation to transformation. We learn Gods reality and value system and have power and authority over the darkness.
Here are 3 things that grow in Truth:
• Boundaries – have a margin. Know your strengthens and limitations. Identify Toxicity.
• Accountability – have someone who speaks life into you. Expose blind spots
• New Identity – don’t let your sin interpret who you are. Receive Grace ALL the time.
The reality of the consequences helps us to “process the moment”. Impulse often has us moving before we have time to think it through. Truth creates “jersey barriers” to slow down thoughts and impulses so that we are less likely to be yanked around by our lust patterns. The myth that sin can be managed or that we are able to control ourselves will backfire every time. Preparation of the heart prevents poor performance.
Here are a few provoking questions:
• Where will this decision take me?
• What I feed and focus on will grow
• What I reward will be established
• Can I ask for help?
• Be filled with the right thing so there is no room for wrong.
• How will what I am doing impact my testimony
Preemptive care for our soul is the “way of escape” in 1 Peter 1:4. Fellow-shipping with Gods divine nature helps release Gods authority. Rehearse, repeat and remind yourself of what Gods say about you. His mind on the matter will bring focus to the real reality at hand.
God is not holding back from you – He loves you and has prepared HIS best to satisfy your soul in Psalms 145:16. Jesus adds to our lives without sorrow in Proverbs 10:22 and Matthew 6:33. Whatever is rolling around in your brain today – grab each thought, and take it by “spear point” and don’t let it be a free radical that will cause a slow drift. You are important in the kingdom of God and your needs will be met according to Gods best in Philippians 4:19. The grass may seem “greener” on the other side, but mowing is required on both sides.
Jason is a graduate from Maryland Bible College and Seminary, and presently he leads the Pastoral Care Team of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. Since age 16, Jason has been involved with mission work among the former Soviet-Bloc countries in Eastern Europe, as well as in Asia, and in the United States. While living in Ukraine, he helped church plant three new churches that continue to thrive today under trained nationals. He has also written five books and has his own podcast (tinyurl.com/IRpodcast)