Monday, January 27, 2014

Seeking Glory

My hands covered my eyes, and I turned my face toward the floor.

"Oh be careful, little eyes, what you see."

Settled in beside my friends and brother, I had put up my feet and was all set to enjoy an evening in the ever-so-comfortable reclining theater seats. The first preview to our film was unnecessarily gross, but one at which  I shrugged through my shudder, muttering to myself about the sad state of entertainment taste held by so many in my world today. Then another preview, worse than the first blazed across the screen. And another. By the end of the revolting third, I was waging war in my brain to ignore the sounds coming from all around me, but it was a loosing battle. "Do you want to leave with me?" I whispered to my friend, as a momentary relief occurred, "I'm going out." She promptly agreed, and we made our hasty, yet purposeful, exit from the room.

Perched on a bench outside the theater, I couldn't keep back a shudder and gasp: "Oh, those are awful! Why would they play previews like that?" We were not alone. It took all of two seconds before we were followed by first one person, then another. Within 2 minutes, half of the auditorium exited en masse, declaring that the wrong movie was now playing on the big screen. That explained the bizarre, strange, and evilly supernatural trailers to which we had been subjected. But although we did get to watch (and enjoy!) our movie later in the evening, the trailers haunted my sleep that night.

"Oh be careful, little eyes, what you see."

My experience the other evening is not the first time my eyes and ears have observed scenarios I regret. Our culture abounds with sinful and unsavory words, actions, and entertainment. What's a Christian to do? To be shut up in convents, monasteries, or communes, shunning outside influences, is not the answer, for Christ has commanded us to be in the world. However, to avoid being of the world, we must be willing to stand - and leave - with courage. Courage to face not only the scorn and ridicule of the unsaved, but (which feels worse) the patronizing condescension of our brothers and sisters. Far more often than not, I have failed to flee evil because other Christians remained, either condoning or - at best - failing to condemn. "Oh, Sarah can't handle this. Doesn't she know it's just a joke?" Or "Just a trailer?" Or "Not real?" Thus, paralyzed by fear, I too stay, stamping a reluctant approval upon the wrong.

But it gets worse.

Because I do not expose my God-bestowed senses to unnecessary searing only when under the convenient excuse of peer pressure. No, no. Be it picture, book, song, or movie, I am guilty of observing - even reveling in - the quiet solitude of evil, as well.

"For the Father up above..."

"Actions speak louder than words." A weak resolve may flutter uncomfortably in the company of moral carelessness - or even mourn the delayed reactions: "should have walked out earlier," "should have stopped reading sooner," "should have looked away quicker" - but flimsiness of the will is, at its very root, a shamefully tragic lack of conviction. In his second epistle, Peter earnestly instructs Christians to give all diligence and "add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self control...godliness...." In other words, to conviction we must add character, knowledge of God's will, discipline to choose His will, and a fervent love for the good. "For if you do these things," encouraged Peter, "you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

"Neither barren nor unfruitful"? I want that to be me! Conviction of right and wrong is not merely enough- it is like faith without works: worth nothing. Not because it is nothing, but because, like going to a movie and having the wrong one play, it is not the right type of something.

" looking down in love."

Oh, let us never forget that we have the power of the Most High God on our side! Let us flee from being so "shortsighted, even to blindness" that we do not see the dire consequences of thinking upon anything besides the True, the Noble, the Just, the Pure, and the Lovely. Regardless of how or when those around us respond, let us care ever-and-always only for the opinion of the One who gave us our eyes and ears! With all our senses fixed on Him - quivering, straining to discern His plan and purpose - we will have no regrets, no "should have"s, no "but what will they think of me?"s. With our sights set on eternity, we will see the beauty of our Savior.
And with the joy that comes will be the power of God to thrill our conviction, strengthen our legs, and crystallize our resolve. With the joy that comes, we will no longer desire what C.S. Lewis called the "mud pies in a slum," but will revel in the "offer of a holiday at the sea." With the joy that comes, we will no longer be so easily pleased.

Let our eyes seek glory of the LORD.

"Oh be careful, little eyes, what you see."

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Havilah Martinez said...

I am thankful for you standing against the enemy in such a well written form. I am going to let many others read your post as it is so relevant to each of us no matter what age. We are responsible, for the most part, on what we allow and condone both. We can help the next generation to have their own convictions but without a preacher- like you how will they hear? So Keep preaching and the Word will not return void it will do what it was sent to do. Bless you and your family! MamaJo

Mikaela said...

Very good application to the story you told me last week! It was like hearing the "rest of the story" for me. : )

SarahJayne said...

MamaJo, thank you for your encouraging words! I need to exercise both my 'walk and talk' with regards to standing alone, but with His power, we can keep our eyes on Him!!

Mika, yes..."and now you know..." :)