Eyes and Ears
Every thought we have ever had, have or will have can be attributed to two things.
Seems simple enough. But easy?
Not even close.
Luke 8 records an encounter with Jesus and his disciples. The Twelve along with several women had been traveling from town to town proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Jesus had just taught the meaning to the parable of the sower and followed up with this section of scripture:
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what thinks he has will be taken from him.” (Luke 8:16-18)
At first glance you probably blew past the sentence like I have done countless times before. Jesus was being straight forward here so the concept, while simple, is profound. It changes the way we set our standards.
Everything will be brought into the light so consider carefully how you listen.
How you listen. Why not, “Consider carefully what you say,” or “Consider carefully how you act”? Of course the latter are of great importance but our speech and actions originate first by what we allow in our minds.
Every thought we have can be attributed in part to what we hear. How we listen matters.
To dig into the second way that thoughts originate, let’s look at more of Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
“Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.” It turns out that isn’t just a fun verse in a children’s song.
Our ears and eyes are the first line of defense for what enters the mind which eventually takes root in our hearts which eventually leads to what comes out in our words and actions.
Simply put, what we hear matters. What we see matters. We cannot un-hear those words or un-see that image. Are you flattered by words of someone who is not your spouse? Do not allow compliments to be heard! Do you struggle with covetousness? Stop looking at what others have! Fill in the blank with just about any of your struggles and you will find that what is growing in your heart first started with a word or a scene.
I am now climbing on my soap box so bear with me.
There is an epidemic of broken marriages in this country. We are perplexed about this and often remain blind to the reasons why people are throwing in the towel and in reality, quitting on their spouse. We buy the lies that promise more. We create a fictional image in our minds of how marriage “should” be. But where in the world are we getting this?
What. We. See. Matters.
What. We. Hear. Matters.
Affairs are romanticized. Sex outside of marriage is normalized. And a license to do just about anything we want is justified. While we do not readily admit this or may even deny that we are entertained by such acts, there is part of us that enjoys these thoughts. Don’t believe me? What are some of the most popular shows right now? Not even just what everyone else is watching, but what do you enjoy watching? Countless television shows and movies have popularized sex outside of marriage and/or affairs. There is no use naming them because it really doesn’t matter. You know and I know if what we allow to be heard and seen is pure or just plain dirty.
Consider just about any sin and this conviction stands. Here is the point: If you don’t like what is being produced by your thoughts, feelings, and life, it may be time for an overhaul on what is going in. What are you allowing to be heard? What are you allowing to be seen?
I know that it is impossible to only hear and see what is pure. We live in a fallen world. And fortunately or unfortunately, the ground work for many of our thoughts was laid before we had any control. But most likely if you are reading this you are old enough to take control moving forward. This will be more difficult for some than others, but we are ultimately responsible for what gains traction in our lives. And our first line of defense comes from what is allowed to be seen or heard.
Okay, I am stepping off my soap box.
Consider carefully how you listen. Consider carefully what you see. Because the purity in your life depends on it.