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Good Eye

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, [23] but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Matthew 6:22-23 ESV

The eye is the lamp of the body. This is a phrase that can speak to several different areas of our life. There is the thought that the eye works as a lamp to reveal the condition and state of our inner life. A healthy eye denotes a clear vision devoted to the Lord, whereas a bad eye reveals the cloudy vision of corruption. I tend to think of this passage in terms of what is being brought into my mind and heart through my vision. With the eye being a lamp for the body, the object and focus of my eye is of vital importance. With my eye being the lamp, it illuminates what my body (inner life) sees and focuses on. Thus if my eyes are healthy, I am allowing the light of the gospel into my body by focusing on the spiritual good. If my eye is bad, then darkness is clouding my vision and the light of the gospel is being withheld from my body and the darkness within me builds and thrives.

I see this being worked out in my life on a daily basis. There is something inherently accurate about the eye being the lamp of the body. There is a vital truth in these words to convince me that what I focus my attention on visually, drives the focus of my inner being. It is not enough to have the right words in my mind or even a proper theology. There is a key element of faithfully following Jesus that must involve my eyes and where I focus my attention.

This impacts all areas of my life. It would be easy to just set down a bunch of rules for myself and follow them. Don’t watch certain movies and tv shows. Don’t look at certain websites, books, or magazines. Don’t, don’t, don’t. Although it is helpful to have a list of don’ts and to draw a line that should not be crossed, this verse is challenging me to do something more. Jesus is not simply encouraging me to stop looking at darkness or to stop allowing darkness to penetrate my body. He is saying that I should have a healthy eye and a healthy eye is one that is focused upon the spiritually good and allowing the light of the gospel to penetrate my body with its glorious light.

This is the takeaway for me today. How do I keep the darkness at bay and keep it from growing and thriving in my life? I do this not only by restricting the focus of my vision but through intentionally seeking to bring gospel light into my body and health to my weak eyes through the gospel focus of the spiritual disciplines. To replace sinful habits with holy devotion and bring the light of Jesus to bear in my heart through the activity of my eyes. To focus intentionally on what is good and wholesome and focus my attention on those things that please Jesus. To develop a healthy eye through an inquisitive desire to see Jesus at all times in all things. Then my healthy eyes, being focused on Jesus, will shine his pure light of gospel change into my heart and will dispel the deceptive lure of the darkness until my whole body is full of light. A life fully devoted to following Jesus with every step and every action.

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