This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Joseph Ton (Romanian Christian writer), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. (Matthew 6:22)
The second way in which Christ delivers us from fear, Joseph Ton likes to call 'the mending or renewal of our eyes'. In Matthew 6, the Lord speaks about worrying (which is the same as fear of the future). Again and again He says: 'Do not worry.' Before this, He spoke about two kinds of eyes, good and bad ones. He says that if our eyes are good, our whole body will be full of light.
The bad eye sees enemies, problems, threats and dangers. Those were the eyes of ten out of twelve spies who returned from a mission to Canaan (Numbers 13). They saw the giants and said: 'We are grasshoppers compared to them. It's hopeless.'
The good eye also sees the danger and the enemies, for they are part of reality. But the good eye sees more than that: it sees the Almighty God. And this Almighty God is our Father through Jesus Christ.
'Let us fix our eyes on Jesus', Hebrew 12:2 says. The frightened heart cries: 'O, my Lord, what shall we do?' Victorious Elisha answers: 'Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed: 'O Lord, open his eyes so that he may see' (2 Kings 6:15-17).
'O our God...we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you' (2 Chronicles 20:12).
Lord, our God, please give us these spiritual eyes.
A moment of introspection: Discernment is a two-part God-given skill. Discernment involves keeping one's eyes open to what is happening in this world, but also involves seeing God's evident plan coming together. In the first attribute, with open eyes, one might look around, see the enemies, problems, threats and dangers and, if discernment stops there one might easily grow fearful. But the second attribute comes with the encouragement with words such as "Do not be afraid"--the One you are seeking is not here, but is risen as He said. The worries of the moment fade, as God's presence and purpose becomes clear. With this second attribute comes joy and hope borne of seeing God in the happenings, and knowing that His purposes are being carried out. Another way of saying this is that the "bad" eye sees the danger--without God; the "good" eye, on the other hand, sees the danger--but God... Francis Schaeffer once wrote a book, entitled He is There, and He is Not Silent. We look around, and some feel the world to be falling apart (bad eyes); if one understands Bible prophecy, one looks around, and sees God's plans falling together (good eyes). Francis Schaeffer saw God at work in this world; he didn't just see the world. Joseph Ton has also helped us see the difference between good eyes and bad eyes.
Good eyes (with active faith) deliver us from fear; bad eyes leave us bereft of the peace that Jesus described for our lives. Jesus spoke of good and bad eyes in the following teaching which makes as much sense turned around: (John 16:33) "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” In the first part of this verse, Jesus acknowledged the bad eye; He said there will be tribulation. But then, not leaving it there, opened His "hand" and showed the good eye. He said, "But take heart; I have overcome the world." What did the good eye afford His hearers? "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace." An oft-sung sacred song encourages us to turn our
"eyes upon Jesus, to look full in His wonderful face--and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace".
The "things of earth"--the cares, the worries, the forebodings, the apprehensions, the fears--these are some of the "things" that good eyes may well keep from you.
King David, the Psalmist, wrote good examples of seeing God beyond the problems; check out Psalms 55 and 56. Seeing God beyond the pain, the fear, the anxieties, the apprehension regarding the societal and world problems--that is discernment. In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus again spoke of "good eyes" and "bad eyes", and described them in this way: "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 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!" If we see the danger, but not the God who has the power to remove the danger, then our thinking, our response to the danger is darkness within (e.g., depression, anxiety, worry). Whereas if one has healthy or "good" eyes, one sees the danger, but focuses on the sovereign God. (cf. Isaiah 26:3) One with healthy eyes, with discernment, sees the Light that God has lent the world. Seeing the Light, one's whole body will be filled with that Light, with hope, with peace, with confidence, with assuredness.
Will our epitaph cite a life filled with light, or a life of great darkness? Joseph Ton encourages us to seek spiritual eyes--eyes that recognize and acknowledge our Father and God giving order to the world chaos of today. May our lives be spent in service to our sovereign God, and may His Light illuminate our being, that we may sense His presence and see His hand at work.