March 14, 2018

Eye of the Beholder

Proverbs 6:20-32; Matthew 5:27-28

Do not lust in your heart after her beauty. . . .

—  Proverbs 6:25

Not only beauty but also lust is in the eye of the beholder. Wanting to take intimacy from another person can begin with a glance, move on to a conversation, and be followed with a touch. But soon a person can lose control of their senses, and the result is disaster and unhappiness.

Fulfilling sexual desire any way we see fit is destructive for every­one. If your eye wanders, it would be better, says Jesus, to go through life without that offensive eye than to lose your entire life in destruction. This seemingly harsh advice underscores the power of human sexuality, a God-given gift. It gives life but can also destroy it.

Life is God’s gift, and human sexuality is the means to bring forth fruit that God desires: intimate marriages and descendants who “call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).

But gratifying sexual desire lust­fully gets in the way of the coming kingdom of God because it does not seek the righteousness of God. It seeks only to use others in the satisfaction of selfishness, which is soon gone like a mist, leaving us longing for more.

In light of all who have struggled to keep the faith, the author of Hebrews exhorts us who are Christ’s disciples and who have not yet finished the race to keep our eyes on Jesus, following the course he marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Dear Lord, direct my eyes to look at you, and keep my eyes from lust, that I may love my neighbor as you love me. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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