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Your eyes and your ears are the gateways into your mind. What you allow to enter through either gate will impact your effectiveness for Christ. That’s why Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, you must guard your mind.
Welcome to a very special episode of The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. In this episode not only will we be diving into Scripture, but I will also be introducing you to a brand new, exceptional resource for parents to help you engage your children in a healthy, godly way as you talk with them about sex. So, let’s talk about “Guarding the gates.”
Proverbs 4:25 counsels us to “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” That verb, “to look,” refers to paying close attention to something, considering it very carefully. In other words, you should pay close attention to everything you see, considering very carefully the things your eyes are observing, because what enters through the eye-gate influences what you think.
I also find it interesting here in Proverbs 4:25 that God says we are to look “straight ahead.” This means our focus is to be directly in front of us, not to the left or to the right. Ever. OK, so let me be clear here that God is speaking figuratively in this verse, not literally. God isn’t saying it’s wrong for your eyes to literally look left or right. If that were so, I highly doubt He would’ve created us with the ability (or need) to look around. So what exactly is God saying here?
When trying to understand a verse or passage of Scripture, it’s vital that you always compare Scripture with Scripture. In Joshua 1:7, God tells Joshua to “be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” In this verse, God uses the phrase, “do not turn to the right or to the left,” to communicate the importance of staying faithful and true to Him and His Word. Don’t allow yourself to deviate from your commitment to God – keep your eyes always set, always focused on Him.
In Deuteronomy 28:14 we read, “Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.” Again, God’s instructions are very clear. “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.” (Joshua 23:6)
In light of these verses and our growing understand of the meaning of “look straight ahead,” let’s examine Proverbs 4:25 again. The command from God here is to “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Our focus, our attention, all that we think about, I to be centered upon the Word of God and the will of God. When He is the center of your attention, God – and God alone – will influence and direct your thinking, which in turn will powerfully impact your living.
When you place your focus on that which is directly in front of you, when God is everything, like the blinders on a horse, you will not be distracted by other things that have the potential of taking you off the right path. You won’t see that lure dangling enticingly off to the side, trying to draw you away from your single-minded, single-hearted devotion to Christ. Deuteronomy 5:32 says, “Be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.”
I submit that God is abundantly clear that he wants your spiritual eyes to be looking straight at Him all the time. In Psalm 141:8 the psalmist declares, “My eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord.” The one who should always be directly in front of us is Jesus!
Personally, I find great significance that God says our eyes are to look “straight” ahead. Here’s why: In Psalm 27:11 David prays, “Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a STRAIGHT path.” His prayer is that God would instruct him on the direction he should be going (“teach me your way”). That type of instruction comes as we feed upon the Word of God. I want you to also notice that David asks God to lead him, to guide him in a “straight” path. I submit that the only path God will ever lead you down is the straight one. His promise in Proverbs 4:11 is this: “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.”
So, the reason Proverbs 4:25 tells us that our eyes should be looking straight ahead is because that’s where God is and always will be. That is the only direction God will lead you. And, when you keep your eyes fixed straight ahead (not letting them wander to the right or to the left) ... when you focus all of your attention on God’s will and God’s way found in God’s Word, this is what will happen:
“For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.” (Proverbs 2:6-15)
You may be familiar with the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 which say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Keep your focus on God my friend. He will make sure you are walking the straight path, the path that glorifies Him. Choose to invest time in the Word of God daily. This is what will give you wisdom (Proverbs 2). This is what will give you an understanding of what is right, and just, and fair (Proverbs 2).
God’s Word will give you discretion and understanding. It will keep your spiritual eyes from wandering to the right or to the left – those places and things that will tempt you to leave the straight path. Proverbs 15:21 says that “a man of understanding keeps a straight course.” Let me remind you though, that simply reading God’s Word every day is not enough. Yes, as you read, study, and meditate on God’s Word He will show you the straight path He wants you to take; but you must then choose moment-by-moment to actually walk that path. Galatians 5:16 promises us that when we choose to walk by the Spirit, when we choose to that straight path, you will not give in to – you will not gratify – the sinful desires of your flesh. You will not wander off the path of godliness and purity.
Set your focus on God, my friend, and never wander from Him, no matter what lure may be trying to get your attention. Don’t allow yourself to look to the left or to the right. Why? Because that’s not where God is. That’s not the path He has laid out for you. That’s not the place of purity, of peace, of promise and of blessing.
Hebrews 12:2 encourages us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Deuteronomy 11:18 commands us to fix God’s words in our minds and in our hearts. 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. And Hebrews 3:1 commands us to fix our thoughts on Jesus. Do you get the idea that what you think about – everything that goes on in your mind – all of it matters to God? I submit that God’s command in Scripture is crystal clear: fix your attention on Him. Set a guard around your mind by being very careful about what you see and what you listen to.
In the opener for this episode, I said that I would be introducing you to a brand new, exceptional resource for parents to help you engage your children in a healthy, godly way as you talk with them about sex. You see, our children don’t yet know how to guard the gates, and it’s our job as parents and grandparents to help them navigate the muddied waters of sexuality. The truth is, 75% of parents think their young children have not been exposed to pornography. But the fact is that over 51% of kids between ages of 11 and 13 have already seen porn – many of them multiple times. Don’t let porn teach your kids about sex. It’s easy to feel unprepared for “the Sex Talk” with your children. But with the right plan, with solid training, you can have what it takes to not just educate your children but equip them for the battle for purity.
To that end I am proud and excited to introduce to you a brand new, powerful comprehensive video course just for parents entitled “The Sex Talk” – a resource of Proven Ministries out of Lynchburg VA – now available on my website ThePurityCoach.com/thesextalk. In this comprehensive video course godly experts, teachers, and Bible scholars present parents with the tools necessary to have a clear, confident, and ONGOING sex talk with their kids.
“The Sex Talk” helps parents not only get equipped and gain confidence but also helps them learn how to give a great ongoing sex talk that greatly empowers their children to not only be pure and live pure, but stay pure. Here are some of the things parents will learn from “The Sex Talk” video course:
“The Sex Talk” video course is for parents of children starting at age 6 and going through their teenage years. The average age of porn exposure is now 8 years old and continues to get younger. So “The Sex Talk” curriculum is a great first step for parents who want to get a head-start on this critical topic. This material has been specifically designed for parents. So, this is not something that you just sit your kids down, have them watch “The Sex Talk” and then have a discussion with them. This is not for them.
The beauty of “The Sex Talk” video course is that this course can go as fast or as slow as you need. And it’s great for a small group format or even for churches to use! So please go to ThePurityCoach.com/thesextalk to learn more about this super relevant course for parents.
And if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.