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The Lamp of the Body

In Matthew 6:19-21 we find Jesus’ statement about where we lay up for ourselves treasures, exhorting that we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust does not corrupt and where thieves do not break in and steal, emphasizing the point in verse 21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus made it clear as we have heard in the following saying: “Home is where the heart is,” meaning home is where the heart is set/focused.

I have found myself often times skipping over verses 22,23 and quoting verse 24 which says: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” However, there is a profound statement that Jesus made in verses 22 & 23 to masterfully and powerfully illustrate the point He is making in this text. Look at what Jesus says: “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:22,23). This really has to do with CAUSE & EFFECT.

In verses 22 & 23 Jesus speaks of the eye as being the lamp of the body. Depending on whether the eye is good or the eye is bad will have an entire effect on one’s entire being. This goes to perspective.

As I was thinking about Jesus speaking of the eye and the effect that it has on the whole body, understanding that He is speaking of such spiritually, I thought about an incident that happened back in January of 2019. Ayden was in school and in the process of removing his plastic folder from his backpack, it got stuck and he pulled with great force to which the corner of the sharp plastic scraped the cornea of his right eye. Of course, I picked him up at school and took him to the eye doctor. During the process though, Kensi and I observed Ayden limping around the house. I was like, so did the injury to his right eye effect his mobility? But that made me think about how something that is not good, can certainly affect our entire being. When I dropped Kensi’s HUGE heat press machine on my barefoot, specifically my big toe, it most certainly effected my entire being.

So what Jesus is illustrating is very simple. Here in these two verses, found between the command to lay up treasures in heaven and the clear factual statement that one cannot serve God and money, Jesus is presenting that dependent on what kind of eye we have (good or bad), how one sees reality, one’s perspective is indicative of whether one’s body is full of light or full of darkness. So, it comes down to what spiritual “eye” we have. For such will have an entire effect on us. Friends, how we LOOK at the LORD and how we LOOK at the things of this world has A WHOLE LOT to do with our heart. So very simply, what’s our eye fixed, or focused upon? In answering that question can certainly indicate what our spiritual condition is. Such provides a gauge to our spiritual condition in how we SEE, in how we look upon the Lord versus the things of this world.

In the very context of the verses I have mentioned from Matthew 6, Jesus is quite apparently and obviously giving a warning regarding the way we look at the things of this world. We remember all too well the rich young ruler (cf. Matthew 19:16-22 / Mark 10:17-22) who wanted to inherit eternal life, but when Jesus told the rich young ruler to go and sell his possessions, the young man went away sorrowful. So, what kind of eye did the rich young ruler have? It seems on the surface that he had a GOOD eye, because he was seeking eternal life. The fact is, the rich young ruler couldn’t receive the light he so sought for because his eye was bad; meaning, his will, the way that he would cling to the worldly possessions would obstruct his spiritual vision.

What we find ourselves staring at (the spiritual eye), is what is going to affect the whole body/heart/mind. What was your eyes set on, focused on this past week? How much were they set upon God?  This goes into how we look at our lives, things, how we view them? Do we see them as something we have been blessed by the Lord with and we have been commissioned as stewards to take care of? Again, it has to do with perspective. This goes into many different areas. Not just specifically in how we look at possessions of the world, but also in how we view people. Our eye is either good or bad when it comes to such, again as a gauge to our spiritual condition. A good example of this is Jonah, who was to go and preach to the Ninevites the word of the Lord. It is quite apparent from what we read in the book of Jonah, noting Jonah’s reaction was to elude his responsibility to go preach the word of God so as to give the Ninevites an opportunity to repent, that Jonah’s eye was bad. The way that Jonah viewed the Ninevites and the way that he disregarded the Lord’s command shows that his perspective, his view was bad. So, by looking at self (i.e. selfishness), looking at things (i.e. covetousness), will certainly affect our hearts, our whole being.

Friends, we can’t think for one second that what we look at, what we permit, will not affect us. That’s why there are so many warnings about what we allow in our hearts (cf. Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:18,19). I’ve said it many times in the past and I say it again: WHAT WE PUT IN IS WHAT WILL EVENTUALLY COME OUT!  GUARD WHAT GOES IN YOUR EYE! (i.e. materialism – Luke 12:15-21).

In Luke 11:33-36, we find Jesus in Luke’s account similar words that we are considering from Matthew 6:22,23. Note that in verse 35, Jesus gives the WARNING to take HEED that the light which is in you is NOT darkness. Jesus is telling us BE EVER-SO CAREFUL as to what may seem to be compelling and appealing to us. Jesus wants us to make a distinction.

We’ve all heard the saying in regards to one who “doesn’t hold a candle to someone else.” I thought of this with Moses, who basically was saying that when it came down to the Lord. In Hebrews 11, the Hebrew writer described Moses as one who chose to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin even for a season (cf. Hebrews 11:24-26). The passing pleasures of sin didn’t hold a candle to the Lord. Moses saw the Lord as the Lord is described in Malachi 4:2: “But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.” I suppose we could consider the passing pleasures of sin, the world, and so forth as a candle and as compelling, bright, and appealing such may be, be careful that we haven’t mistaken such for “the light.” As one has said, “candles seem bright until the sun comes out.” When we have the proper perspective toward things of this world, towards people, towards our own lives, when our EYE IS HEALTHY, our whole body will be full of light. The things of this world doesn’t HOLD A CANDLE to the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Yes, the lamp of the body is the eye. Good eyes allow light to enter into the body, however bad eyes obstruct light from entering. May we be careful on what we look at and how we look for, again, such affects our hearts.

Jesus showed us what it meant to have the proper perspective. We know that His EYE was HEALTHY, that it was GOOD, because of how he viewed things of this world. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in Matthew 4 (lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life), Jesus’ focus was NOT on such… rather He said, “it is written…” Jesus was focused on His Father God.  I know that His EYE was HEALTHY in the way He viewed others, yea, even me (cf. Romans 5:6-8). I know that His EYE was HEALTHY because He served His Father.

Friends, if we want to have a HEALTHY EYE and for our body to be FULL OF LIGHT like Jesus’, then we need to set our affections, our hearts, our minds, on things above, not on things of this earth. If we want to have a HEALTHY EYE and for our body to be FULL OF LIGHT, we must cease from staring and focusing on the things of this world that only brings darkness and spiritual lameness.

To have a GOOD EYE, is to know true value, true worth, true discernment that God provides. The GOOD HEALTHY EYE allows light to see the way God sees, to live the way Jesus lived, to serve as Jesus served.

Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂

About Author

DJ Dickerson

Evangelist | La Porte Church of Christ

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