Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! (Matt. 6:23-23, NLT)
To understand this word picture you simply need to insert the idea of desire. Desires in the Bible can be good or bad. When we desire the things God desires our desires are good. When we desire things contrary to God’s will our desires are bad.
So using Jesus’ metaphor, here are some questions to help you determine what you really desire.
What is your eye drawn to?
What are you watching and reading?
Which websites would appear the most frequently on your accountability report?
That’s why Jesus uses the metaphor of the eye and the body. He is giving us a diagnostic tool for our hearts. It’s like he is saying,
Do you want to know what’s going on in your heart – What do you look at?
The word for good eye comes from the Greek word haplous. It implies a single-minded devotion and generosity. Various translations capture the word as healthy or clear. But it might be best understood as an undeterred focus. It is like the mother who whispers to her new-born child, “I can’t keep my eyes off of you.”
Here’s the point in less than 20 words.
The bad eye looks through the lens of selfish desire and sees one’s wants as the highest priority.
This is the American way. Whether on the internet or at Wal-Mart, we shop with our eyes. We look, we want, we desire, and we buy. We are raised on the understanding that the things we buy will satisfy so we keep buying . . . but we’re never satisfied.
The good eye looks through the lens of God’s desire and sees other’s needs as one’s responsibility.
What if I quit looking through the lens of my desire, and started looking through the lens of God’s desire for a hurting, dying world? How might that change my life? What might I see? Perhaps I would no longer see my wants as the highest priority. Maybe I would actually begin to see other’s needs as my responsibility. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “your whole body is filled with light” (Matt. 6:23).
Songwriter Brandon Heath understands this when he pleads with God,
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see. . .
To watch Heath’s music video go here: http://vimeo.com/1710532
Now ask yourself, through whose eyes am I seeing?