I Will Set Nothing Wicked Before My Eyes
1 I will sing of mercy and justice;
To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.
2 I will behave wisely in a perfect way.
Oh, when will You come to me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3 I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.
4 A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will not know wickedness.
One weekend several years ago, I was visiting a Christian couple – old friends of mine who were big movie-watchers. After dinner, it was movie-time. We selected an R movie from their huge library, and not 10 minutes into the movie, a tremendous seduction scene occurred. It was one of the most graphic sex scenes I had ever seen and it was embarrassing to me. I sat through the rest of the movie in a mild shock, wondering why they would think it was okay to watch a movie like this. I was not a big movie-watcher, and honestly, I had not realized how graphic R movies had become. To me, it was practically an X.
The following week, I could not stop thinking about that sex scene. Over and over it played in my mind. I couldn’t get it out even though I didn’t want to think about it. Being a single Christian woman, this was frustrating to me – first, as a Christian, I didn’t want to be thinking of this graphic sex scene. Second, as a single woman, I didn’t want to be thinking about sex at all, since God says sex is reserved for marriage only.
I eventually needed deliverance prayers to cast out the “flashback” demon that kept bringing this unwanted memory back to my mind. I repented to God about watching this movie and then the demon was cast out. (Also as a side note, when I watched my grandmother and my brother die, the trauma caused the flashback demon to enter me, and it had to be cast out then as well. The demon would bring back the memories of their faces and their last breaths at the time of their deaths. While I still remember those moments, the demon is not there any longer to torment me over and over again with those memories.)
But this article is not about the flashback demon, but about not setting anything wicked before our eyes. As Christians, we have to be very selective about what we take into our souls (defined as the mind, the will and the emotions) through seeing and hearing. Because what we take in through our senses affects our minds and our hearts toward God and people. As I was growing in my walk with the Lord, I realized I needed to swear off R-rated movies for the violence, the sex and nudity, and the profanity. What benefit would I as a Christian have in watching movies like this, I asked myself. It didn’t seem like it would be pleasing to God. And I could certainly get my entertainment from other sources that wouldn’t be so detrimental to my Christian walk.
King David got the connection between your input receptors (in this case, the eyes) and the heart and the mind as seen in the Psalm at the top of this article:
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.
Now consider this proverb by Solomon, talking to his children about King David his father, teaching the same connection (in this case, the ears):
Proverbs 4:1-13 and 20-27
1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding; 2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. 3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 He also taught me, and said to me: ” Let your heart retain my words (hearing); Keep my commands, and live. 5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. 9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.” 10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings (hearing), And the years of your life will be many. 11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.
20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Wow, isn’t it the truth. What’s in your heart really tells what kind of a person you are. And what you put into your heart (through the choices you make with your eyes and ears) can make you the person you are today. This is what Jesus said to the Pharisees:
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34)
To illustrate this, one day I was talking to a Christian friend of mine about a baby shower we were going to attend. Not long before this conversation, I had been telling her about the spiritual world of demons, how they affect Christians, how the Lord has taught us to minister deliverance. We had tried to minister some deliverance to her with no results. As we were discussing the shower, she said to me, “Well, don’t bring any demons to the shower,” in a catty voice. As I started my response, she said condescendingly, “Mandy, I’m just kidding!” After I hung up the phone, the bolded part of the scripture above shot into my mind like a lightning bolt, and I knew it was the Holy Spirit telling me that my friend’s heart was not right with God on this matter.
In conclusion, if you do a search on the Internet to read about psychological studies on children correlating the influence of watching sex and violence on TV and their behavior, you can find plenty of unfavorable reports. Christians can become desensitized from God (the Bible calls it a hardened heart and a reprobate mind and gives plenty of examples) by absorbing the wrong things into their souls. We all know looking at pornography is immoral and can create a tremendous stronghold, but what about the more subtle things like the television programs and movies we watch, the steamy romance novels we read, the raunchy jokes we hear, etc.? We need to be more select about what we allow our eyes to see and our ears to hear.
I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. (1 Chronicles 29:17)
…you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:3)
And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10)
This is what happens when you consistently don’t love God enough to guard your heart, your soul, your mind:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting. (Romans 1:28)
So, let’s say you’re a casual Christian and you’re not willing to swear off R-rated movies. “There’s nothing wrong with watching them, I’m not hurting anyone,” you might say. Then a little voice comes to you and says, “That’s right, you’re not hurting any one. And one little peek at some Internet porn won’t hurt you either.” So you think, yeah, why not?
Before you know it, you’re addicted. You can’t stop thinking about looking at that porn. You want to stop, but you can’t because the attraction is too great. Then the type of porn that satisfied you before doesn’t satisfy you any more. You sink into harder and harder porn.
If you’re married, you may ask your spouse to act out or participate in some of the perversions you’ve seen. Or worse, you lose all your desire for your spouse because he or she doesn’t fit the body type of your porn dreams or doesn’t want to play the sick games.
Now, you’re marriage is destroyed. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy through pornography.
What happened is that a small thought or wrong desire turned into a stronghold. Jesus taught how to stop something from becoming a stronghold in Matthew 5: 27:
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin (referring to masturbation), cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
If you want to walk with God with your whole heart, think about what is going into that heart through what you see and hear and how it affects your intimacy with Him.