Turn my eyes away from worthless things.
What do our eyes decide what to look at? A compelling article from the University of Melbourne gives this some thought. For quite some time, the dominant theory has been that people’s eyes automatically focus on whatever is bright and shiny in front of them. For example, if you show someone a picture of a drab city street with a bright yellow taxi, the person will first look at the taxi.
Recent work in this area, however, suggests there’s another factor in what our eyes choose to see. Rather than just looking at what is bright and shiny, our eyes also seek out those things that are meaningful to us.
And what is meaningful? There’s the big question. For the answer to that question can vary from person to person.
In Psalm 119, the Holy Spirit moved the psalmist to pray, Turn my eyes away from worthless things. Our ancient enemy, the devil, knows it rarely works for him to attack us directly and demand that we turn our eyes away from Jesus. Instead, he’s learned that the more he can get us to fix our eyes on things other than Jesus—things that seem more important and urgent at the moment—the more he can gently nudge us away from our Savior.
And here’s the tricky part. The thing that pulls our attention away from Jesus does not need to be an inherently bad thing. It might be a wonderful thing. Maybe it’s a relationship, family, hobby, career, retirement planning, or keeping up with the news.
All well and good in and of themselves, but when I slip into presuming that one of these good things is more worthy of my ongoing attention than my Savior, then Satan has set his hooks. Disaster awaits.
Thank God for Jesus. Not only has he washed us clean at the cross, he continues to pursue us with his Holy Spirit. He empowers us to come to repentance, to turn our eyes away from relatively worthless things, to fix our eyes upon him all over again.
Lord, when my eyes begin to fix on something other than you, bring me to repentance. Turn my eyes back to you. Amen.