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Tragedy of the eyes

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world.
I  recent came across the story of a British woman who died during cosmetic surgery at a clinic in Thailand. The 24-year-old was said to have been undergoing a procedure by an allegedly uncertified surgeon in Bangkok before her death. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said, “This tragic case highlights how, if lured by the prospect of what is essentially ‘cheap surgery’, patients can be left vulnerable.”

Sadly it is not the first time this has happened. In 2011 another British woman Claudia Aderotimi died in the United States. Ms Aderotimi worked as a dancer. She had come to believe that a 'bigger bottom' would make her famous enough to appear in hip hop videos. So she went to the USA trying to get an illegal 'butt enhancement' operation. One person who met her during one of the dance sessions described her as a "victim of the social pressure to be perfect".

This lure and desire to be "perfect" in people eyes is what Apostle John calls the "desires of the eyes". The original word for "desires" literally means deep cravings. Those things that assault our eyes and controls them. John says the world is full of these things which are not from God. The Lord Jesus said that the eye is the lamp of the body, "when your eye is healthy, your whole body is full  of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness" [Luke 11:34]. In other words our eyes are the windows to the world. Whoever controls your eyes controls you.

The power of the eyes to control us has always been there.  Yet it is clear that world is now more enslaved to what is seen and not what is thought than at any time in history the world. We live in the age of Instagram and YouTube where self promotion and gratification of the eyes means everything! We see what other people have and we want that. 

Our eyes increasingly push us to pursue God given desires to the extreme. Desiring to look presentable is okay, but the world now says you can have any body you want!  The result is the tragic consequences we see in the lives of these two British women. Seeing beauty in the opposite sex is a gift from God, which when abused leads to pornography. That in turn feeds the monster of sex trafficking and other vices.

Followers of Jesus are not immune to the tragedy of the eyes. Everywhere we look we are spiritually assaulted. The world beckons us to worship it in one way or another. It is not just through the many billboards! Many of us spend more time watching TV than reading our Bibles and praying to God. We must constantly ask ourselves – where in my life have I become enslaved to the eyes? How well am I looking after my eyes?

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013

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