…sometimes it’s desired, and other times not so much, right?
What comes first to your mind when you hear anyone say, “I’ve got my eye(s) on you…” or “I’ll be watching you”? Some of you will think of Robert De Niro (Meet the Parents), or even the song from The Police (Every Breath You Take) (also known as the “stalker song” in some circles).
Or if you’re not connecting with those references (which I admit are decidedly OLD)- most of us who have endured middle school/Jr. high and high school can remember being on either end in terms of being the one paying attention to that “special someone”; or being on the receiving end of that special attention.
For those who are familiar with being on the receiving end (and by no means do I claim to be among this group!)- it likely ranges from being flattering….to being flat-out creepy/disgusting, right? Simply said, it all depends on whom the attention is coming from.
One repeated theme throughout the Old Testament OT scriptures is “eye(s) of the LORD”. Whether it’s in regards to people doing good or evil in God’s sight, or in regards to God’s intent to show Himself strong on behalf of those hope in Him, the assumption undergirding these statements is that He is omniscient and sees all. But it goes further than a physical kind of seeing- He sees not only our behavior but the intentions behind them.
To anyone earnestly contemplating this idea- it can be unsettling, to say the least*. In fact this idea taken by itself out of context may perpetuate the caricature of the angry deity holding lightning bolts just waiting to find someone to strike. But for those who do acknowledge God, especially those who hold a faith in Jesus Christ similar to myself- do you find yourself still unsettled by this idea? If we still find ourselves instinctively leaning towards hiding ourselves, I think it shows that we don’t yet understand the freedom of the abundant life we’ve been given in Jesus.
Something I’ve been slowly and clumsily learning to live out is to delight in the fact that His eyes are never off of me. Should thinking like this make me squirm with regards to my sinful tendencies? Oh yes- and it should. But we should see that this is decidedly GOOD. It’s about remembering that to live in His light is eternally better than dwelling in the darkness of our sins. It’s remembering that the vices that we justify because we feel like they are “automatic”- are actually just pulling us away from what is truly life as God intended. This as opposed to trying to remember in some masochistic sense thinking that I can robotically pull myself up by my own bootstraps and make myself behave because God (as if He is just like Big Brother) is watching. (This is decidedly NOT how biblical Christianity is meant to be lived out)
What has this meant for me on a practical level in daily life? Well, it means that when I do wrong- I openly confess, own it and humble myself before others regardless of what it costs in terms of any “reputation” or “image” I think I may have built for myself- because these things ultimately mean nothing in light of who I really am before God. If I truly live in fear God- desiring to honor Him to the uttermost- then I don’t need to fear anyone else. Sure, it sounds so simple (and it actually is conceptually), but it’s been one of the hardest things for me to faithfully live out- because by nature I tend towards being a people-pleaser. It’s one thing to want to promote harmony among people for the good of everyone, but it’s idolatry to want to please people for the sake of boosting my own sense of self-worth/image. Like I mentioned earlier I haven’t “gotten the hang” of this by any means. But it’s the direction I’m setting my face towards walking by His grace.
I’ll just conclude with the beginning- whose attention matters to you?
*(An aside: The staunch atheist may claim that it’s just silliness to even consider in the first place- but I would argue that if one were to have their thought-life spanning their life played on a movie screen for the whole world to see, it would at least give them pause)