Knowing God’s will and obeying it can, at times, be two completely different things. One way to make it easier involves keeping ungodly influences at bay, including what we allow ourselves to see and hear. In Genesis 2, we find Adam and Eve living in a perfect world with everything they needed to enjoy life to the fullest—yet with one stipulation: “Do not eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” (Genesis 2:17). The scenario changes in Genesis 3, where we find Eve looking at the one and only enticement off limits to them. She was also listening to what the serpent had to say about the possibilities if she ate. She “saw the tree was good for food” and that it was “pleasant to the eyes” (Genesis 3:6). Eve took herself out of a place of safety when she willingly chose to focus on the temptation. James 1:14-15 is very clear, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
1 Samuel 13:14 speaks of David as being a man after God’s own heart and his reputation praiseworthy; however, one day he let down his guard and allowed his eyes to wander. It was during the time “when kings go forth to battle” (2 Samuel 11:1). He sent Joab, the Captain of the Guard in his place. That night he couldn’t sleep so he decided to take a walk upon the rooftop, where he looked, desired, and fell into adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). When David looked, he saw the obvious, a beautiful young woman bathing—but what he didn’t see was the result of holding his gaze longer than he should have. Seeing the beautiful woman wasn’t sin. Sometimes we can’t control what comes into our sight, but we can control our response. David should have quickly turned and walked away. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.
Thankfully, we serve a God of second chances, where true repentance paves the way for God to cleanse our hearts. However, each one of us is accountable for the things we say and do. Philippians 2:12 says, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” implying a continued effort on our part. Proverbs 4:25 tells us, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.” Even David said in Psalm 101:3, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes,” because he knew what would happen if he did. If we allow our eyes to wander and behold the unclean, or our ears to hear perversion and lies, impure thoughts will come—all too often resulting in immoral behaviors.
Continual communication with Jesus and His word is imperative. This keeps our relationship strong so we won’t be caught off guard in a vulnerable place where godly behavior and good creativity begins to die. If we fall into sin, it taints our witness. Jesus forgives when we repent, but people have a tendency to remember our words and actions, and there will always be those who are quick to condemn. This alone should encourage us to maintain our integrity by living within the boundaries and protection of God’s word. “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14). “That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:10-11). We are God’s art, put on display for the world to see Jesus through us. May we live with integrity, worthy of His name.