“The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 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 the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)
Many of us are familiar with the children’s song, ‘Be careful little eyes what you see….be careful little eyes what you see…for the Father up above is looking down in love….so be careful little eyes what you see.’ The familiarity of this song might throw us off course when it comes to understanding this verse. Since we think we ‘know’ what an eye is, we assume that it must be the lamp mentioned in the scripture (eyes work more like windows than lamps) Yet there is another verse from Proverbs 20:27 that is key to interpreting the scriptures from Matthew.
“The spirit of man is the lamp of The Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being”.
God defines ‘lamp’. It is the life of His indwelling Spirit.What is The Lord wanting to teach us?
Once we have been born again, The Lord fills us with His Presence by the Holy Spirit. And when we have been inhabited by the Living God, we have an entirely new ‘operating system’ by which we can learn to navigate our lives. It is no longer up to our soul to direct our thoughts, feelings, words or actions. We can begin the process of conversion from strength of soul to submitting our will to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The inner presence of the Spirit is being described as a burning lamp. And Matthew takes this image one step further and describes this lamp as our new way to ‘see’….an eye.
Paul understood this imagery when he wrote in Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”. Jesus, while teaching in parables, calls out to those who had ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’, instructing them in a new way of seeing and hearing.
As children, we are born with a natural means of hearing and seeing….eyes and ears. Though we have this capacity from birth, we must learn the language of our people and become fluent. The same holds true when we have a spiritual birth. We now have an eye of the heart, but we must learn to submit to His direction rather than our own abilities and will. We have a capacity, but we must learn to defer to this new way of operating.
Let me share an illustration. There are two kinds of operating licenses that are issued to pilots. There is a standard license that allows one to fly during daylight and clear skies. But there is another type that requires extensive time and training. It is called ‘being instrument rated’. This training calls for a pilot to understand and depend on the instrument panel over and above his own senses. Our sense of balance and equilibrium comes from the ear and is prone to confusion when in flight, so it requires significant practice to override the natural sense in exchange for the instrument panel. These are those pilots who can navigate in the dark of night and the blinding clouds of a storm.
Jesus Christ shares with us that the days will be dark prior to His return. There will be storms to navigate in the coming days of the kingdom. Take advantage of these days and make sure that you have transferred dependence to His Life in your inner man. Learn to trust that His thoughts are higher than your own. Learn to see through His eye. We can make it through the storm.