What Does the Bible Say About a Wandering Eye?

A “wandering eye” refers to looking lustfully at someone who is not your spouse. This is a major issue that the Bible addresses many times. As Christians, it’s important that we understand God’s perspective on this matter and take steps to guard our eyes and hearts. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore what scripture teaches about wandering eyes and provide key takeaways for application.


Our eyes are powerful gateways to the heart and mind. What we choose to set our gaze upon can greatly impact – for better or worse – the condition of our inner being. This is why the Bible has so much to say about controlling our eyes and avoiding temptation.

A “wandering eye” describes the tendency to look lustfully at someone who is not your spouse. Rather than being content with what God has given you, your eye begins to covet what He has given to another. This reveals a heart of ingratitude, discontentment and impurity.

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Here are the key takeaways we’ll cover in this article:

  • God created our eyes and cares deeply about what we choose to set our gaze upon.
  • Looking lustfully at someone who is not your spouse is always portrayed as sinful in scripture.
  • This behavior reveals deeper heart issues that need to be addressed through repentance and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
  • Practical steps must be taken to renew our minds and guard our eyes from temptation.
  • Jesus stressed the severity of this sin but also provided the way of escape through His grace.

Let’s explore each of these points in depth by looking at many relevant Bible passages. May this study encourage us to honor God with our eyes and walk in purity by His power at work within us.

What Does the Bible Say About a Wandering Eye?

God Cares About Where Our Eyes Wander

The first key truth is that God Himself cares deeply about where we set our gaze. Our eyes belong to Him and He takes it very seriously when we misuse them.

David declares in Psalm 139:16 that “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” (NKJV) Our eyes were fashioned by God when we were being formed in the womb. He carefully crafted each one for His purposes.

Since our eyes originate with God, we are accountable to Him for how we use them. David prays in Psalm 119:37 – “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things; And revive me in Your way.” (NKJV) He acknowledges that God has authority over His eyes and asks for grace to use them rightly.

Proverbs 15:3 declares that “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (NKJV) God’s eyes are roaming to and fro across the earth (2 Chronicles 16:9) and He sees everything we do. Nothing escapes His notice.

Jesus affirms this truth in Luke 16:15, teaching that “God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (NKJV) Men may only look at outward appearances but God sees the hidden motives and desires of our heart.

Since God cares about our eyes and sees all, we are called to walk in purity and integrity before Him. The writer of Hebrews says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” (NKJV) As we find contentment in Christ, it removes covetous desire which is often what leads our eyes to wander.

Looking Lustfully is Always Wrong

The second key truth is that looking lustfully at someone who is not your spouse is consistently portrayed as sin throughout scripture. This behavior clearly goes against God’s design for sexuality and reveals heart idolatry.

Exodus 20:17 establishes the commandment against coveting a neighbor’s wife in the 10 Commandments. (NKJV) This prohibition on desiring what God has given to another man points to the greater issues of contentment, self-control and sexual purity which God calls His people to walk in.

Job 31:1 says, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” (NKJV) Job understood that ogling another woman would be displeasing to God, violating His standards of holiness.

In Matthew 5:28, Jesus takes this command to a deeper level stating, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (NKJV) He equates lustful glances with adultery of the heart, a very serious offense before God.

2 Peter 2:14 describes those “having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin.” (NKJV) This portrays a powerful picture of being given over to sexual impurity and the inability to stop sinning with our eyes.

So from the Old Testament to the teaching of Jesus to the letters in the New Testament, we find clear rebuke of allowing our eyes to wander lustfully. It is a heart issue that God commands us to confront and overcome.

Issues of the Heart Must Be Addressed

The third key truth we find in scripture is that a “wandering eye” reveals deeper heart conditions that must be addressed for healing to occur. Repentance and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is necessary to walk in purity.

In Jeremiah 17:9, God declares that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (NKJV) Our hearts are prone to deception and desires that pull us into sin. Just trying to stop looking lustfully treats only a surface symptom. We have to allow God to renew our hearts to get to the root issue.

Psalm 51:10 captures David’s prayer after his adultery with Bathsheba: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (NKJV) His heart was corrupted by lust and he prays for inward renewal only God can provide.

Ezekiel 36:26 also points to this spiritual heart surgery: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (NKJV) God performs this operation by His Spirit.

So dealing with a wandering eye cannot be mere willpower and behavior modification. We need repentance and the power of the Holy Spirit to purify our loves and desires at their source. Heart-level transformation must occur through God’s gracious provision.

Practical Steps Must Be Taken

The fourth key truth emerging from scripture is that we must take practical steps to guard our eyes and renew our minds once our hearts have been revived. The battle against temptation happens externally and internally.

Proverbs 4:25 tells us to “Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you.” (NKJV) Keep your eyes focused on where you are going rather than letting them veer off course into lustful territory.

Psalm 101:3 says, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” (NKJV) Make a covenant with yourself by God’s strength to not entertain tempting visual stimuli. Be wise about your media choices.

Philippians 4:8 exhorts us to think on “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (NKJV) Fill your mind intentionally with positive content.

In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus teaches that “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (NKJV) Guarding our eyes impacts our whole lives, so we must be vigilant.

The Bible offers much practical wisdom in this area. Walking by the Spirit empowers us to also walk wisely in protecting our eyes and resisting temptation.

God’s Grace Covers Us in Our Struggles

The final key truth is that even though Jesus strongly condemns lust of the eyes, in the same passages He also offers grace, forgiveness and the way of escape to the repentant heart. This sin does not put us beyond the reach of God’s mercy and transforming power.

1 Corinthians 10:13 promises, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (NKJV) Victory is possible through God’s faithfulness.

1 John 1:9 assures us “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NKJV) As we turn from sin and turn towards Christ, He offers complete cleansing.

By Jesus’ wounds, we are healed. He frees us from the prison of sexual impurity through His great love displayed on the cross. We find supernatural power to walk in purity by keeping our eyes fixed on Him.


What we choose to set before our eyes – or allow our eyes to wander towards – holds tremendous spiritual significance. Scripture offers clear guidance for honoring God with our eyes and avoiding the snare of lust. As we embrace these biblical principles and God’s grace, we can walk in integrity and purity by the power of His Spirit at work within us. May God grant us victory in this vital area!

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