“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.”
One of the saddest experiences in life is to see a close friend fall away from the Lord. From the outside, the process often looks the same. A person, who once walked closely with the Lord and was involved in Christian service, begins to drift ever so slightly. First, their conversation changes. Instead of talking about the Lord, sharing from their times of Bible reading or service, they begin to talk only of the waves and the weather. Next, we begin to see them a little less frequently around the church. In some cases, only the responsibility of a service commitment keeps them coming; until finally they step down from their responsibility, and seem to vanish. Sometimes, it will take weeks or even months before we realize what has happened, and by that time, they have cut ties from most of their Christian friends, and are back involved in the things of the world.
This experience is not limited to modern times. The Psalmist saw it happen in his day, and as a result declares, “I hate the work of those who fall away.” He also gives a little insight into what those works are when he states, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.”
It has been said, the eye is the window into the soul. That phrase has always seemed a bit eerie to me, perhaps because I have misunderstood the truth about the eyes of man. It is not as though a person can look into your eyes and see the inner man, but information enters our mind through the eye gate, which in turn, feeds the soul. Paul spoke about the flesh and the spirit being in a daily battle with one another (Galatians 5:17). We all know there are times when we have lost the battle to the flesh, and times when we have been victorious and remained faithful to the Lord, in the midst of temptation.
The secret to success in the battle against the flesh is training. As in any fight, the one who is stronger and more prepared, is the one who will be victorious. If we want to live well-pleasing to the Lord, we must use our eyes to look away from the things that will lead us to stumble, and onto the things that will help us to grow. Jesus put it like this, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34).
My wife and I were walking the streets of Paris when I saw a chocolate croissant in the window of a bakery. It looked amazing! However, we were on our way to dinner, so stopping was out of the question, but I could not get it out of my head. You know, first thing the next morning, I was in a bakery ordering a croissant. If you are struggling with a particular sin, the solution may be as simple as removing the things that you are looking at, that are feeding that sinful desire. Magazines, movies, internet searches, should all be removed, as you seek the Lord for victory in your life. Let’s take the example of the Psalmist to heart, who decreed, “It shall not cling to me.”