The lamp of the body is the eye. 

Have you ever watched an ice cream commercial and said to yourself,  “I could go for a cone right now!”   Maybe you have a lot of self-control, and you think,  “Well, that really isn’t a good idea.”   But you may also find yourself drifting into the frozen section of the grocery store next time you shop.   That little inspiration came into your mind, became part of your thoughts, grew into a kind of craving, and then affected your actions.

This is what Jesus is talking about in Scripture.   What we take in through our eyes shapes the focus of our hearts and our actions.

Think for a minute about how many images you absorb during the day:  television, magazines, billboards, the Internet, and social media.   While many are enjoyable or harmless, some are downright offensive.   If a fifteen-second commercial can make you want ice cream, how much more can a longer movie depicting extreme violence or impure situations influence our thoughts?

These images don’t have to dominate our minds.   We can learn to guard our eyes by deciding what we will watch and what we’ll avoid.   In those cases where it’s just unavoidable, we can learn how to catch the images before they become a part of our thought process.   Blocking unhealthy images and focusing on wholesome and uplifting ones can help us keep our thoughts pure and full of light.

You might be surprised at how a simple awareness of what images you allow or don’t allow will give you more peace and a sense of steadiness in your heart.

Today, think about the many images that you see in a given day.   Then, just for fun, get a piece of paper and a red and a green marker.   All morning, pay attention to what you are seeing.   If it is an image you should filter out, make a red mark.   If it is a good image, make a green mark.   Then, during lunch, take stock.   Are there too many red marks?   What can you do about it?   How can you make your eyes as clear as possible?   By fixing them on Jesus as often as you can remember to.

word among us