It's been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. That being the case, it's critically to monitor what goes in the eye because of its impact on the soul.

The oldest book in the Bible indicates an understanding of this principle. According to Job 31:1, Job made a covenant with God concerning his eyes, promising not to look with lust upon a young woman. Job understood that temptation often enters through the door of our sight. That's what Eve experienced when she looked upon the fruit and desired it.

Because of the importance of taking care with what we allow our eyes to view, let's consider the devastation that Internet pornography is bringing. Many are being lured into a tangled web of seduction both inside and outside the church. Christianity Today conducted an exclusive survey of its readership in August 2000. It was anonymous, which may explain why the answers were so honest. One-third of clergy responding and one-third of laypeople responding admitted that they had visited a sexually explicit Web site. Web surfers will expend more than $3 billion by 2003 on pornographic Web sites alone.

This lethal serpent that so many are allowing into the private confines of their homes and offices is so successful because of:

  • Twenty-four-hour accessibility

  • Anonymity

  • Immoral extremities

  • Affordability

  • Protected privacy

Unless you think that this is just an issue with men, research is now showing that women in the thirty-to-thirty-five-year age bracket are becoming more sexually aggressive. Experts say this is because they grew up in a much more visual society. These women are reaching an age when husbands may travel a great deal, and their children are at the age of exercising a great drain on a mother's energy. A good friend who leads a retreat center for couples experiencing trauma told me that a growing number of women at the empty-nest stage of life are being drawn into Internet pornography.

Remember that what you see is what you get! I encourage women everywhere I go to be careful about watching soap operas during the day or dramas at night that show more sexual encounters outside of marriage than inside. Also, be wary of romance novels. The descriptions you find in them would be impossible to live out in the reality of daily life.

Men need to be on guard for entry-point products, such as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and when his wife receives the Victoria's Secret catalog. The best place in the world for both is the trash can. What your eyes do not allow you to etch upon your brain, you won't have to worry about trying to erase. And moms and dads, please be careful of your children. Ted Roberts, in his outstanding book Pure Desire, tells us that the average age today for a first-time viewer of pornography is eleven. You're building a legacy!

Excerpted from Beneath the Surface by Bob Reccord. Copyright 2002. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tenn., www.lifewaystores.com, 1-800-448-8032.

Bob Reccord serves as president of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

What images tempt you to make wrong decisions, and why? How have you set boundaries in your life to avoid becoming ensnared by what you see? Visit the Books Forum to discuss this topic. Just click on the link below.