If Your Eye is Single

The other day I was driving in my car and bring something before the Lord. What I heard in my spirit in answer to my question was, “If your eye is single your whole body will be full of light.” This is from Jesus teaching in Matthew 6:22. The word ‘single’ comes from the old KJV. The NKJV translates it below as ‘good.’

21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22  The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. Matthew 6:21-22 (NKJV)

Over the years I have spent a good deal of time reflecting on verse 21 as I see our heart as the capacity to treasure things, more particularly either the things of the spirit or the things of the soul. At the same time I had spent little time on verse 22. I have casually thought of it as needing to pay attention to what we look at. This time what the Holy Spirit brought to me over and over again was the role of our thinking/imagination in relation to our looking. How and what we see is greatly determined by how we look.

To bring this point home let me share a story I read. This fellow described being on the subway and seeing a father and two young children get on. The children were bothering the other passengers and the father was doing nothing to intervene. The author made some judgments and decided to intervene and get the fellow to be a responsible father. He said, “Excuse me, I don’t know if you noticed but your children are bothering the other passengers.” The ‘neglectful’ father sort of came out of a fog and responded, “I’m sorry, we just came from the hospital where their mother died.” What do you think happened to the first man’s view? What changed in the situation? One thing only. How he thought about this father.

This took me back to Philippians 4:8. If we want our eyes to be single we need to be intentional about our thinking.

8  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

If we train our minds to meditate, to think deeply on things that are noble, just, pure, lovely and good that is the filter through which we will see the world around us. How are things looking?

And He Became Flesh

We have just celebrated Jesus death and resurrection. Obviously neither would have been possible without His birth. Let’s reflect a bit on what happened.

We know from the scriptures that Yahweh’s nature is revealed in creation.

20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, Romans 1:20 (NKJV)

1  The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:1 (NKJV)

Yet in addition to creation we needed a fuller revelation of the Godhead which came about through Jesus becoming flesh.

14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NKJV)

8  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10  and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:8-10 (NKJV)

God’s glory is his character (see Ex. 33:18-19, 34:5-8). Jesus coming into the world was also a further unveiling of the Father’s heart and Jesus told Thomas, and by extension us, that to see Him was to see the Father (Jn. 14:9). So to both understand and experience the glory of God we need to simply meditate on how Jesus interacted with people, for in those interactions we also have the Father and Spirit revealed.

What is Jesus like? He displayed no tolerance for religion and deception when, for example, He cleansed the temple and exposed false motives. At the same time He was infinitely patience and compassionate with the sincere and broken hearted and revealed a deep love for all who sought truth. So, let us reflect on His character (glory) as revealed in the gospels and sit with Him and experience His love and tender heart and in return pour out our love for Him and seek His face.

What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong unveils this somewhat.

Camping in the Wrong Place

Have you ever had a bad experience camping? You picked what seemed like a good spot and then due to bad weather, bad camping neighbours or a variety of other things it turned out to not be as good as it looked?

What does camping have to do with our spiritual walk? At times where we want to camp is the wrong place. Look at the passages below.

1  Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2  and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4  Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5  While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7  But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8  When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. Matthew 17:1-8 (NKJV)

2  Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. 3  His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4  And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5  Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”- 6  because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. 7  And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Mark 9:2-7 (NKJV) 

28  Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29  As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. 30  And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, 31  who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32  But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. 33  Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”-not knowing what he said. 34  While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. 35  And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Luke 9:28-35 (NKJV)

In the three parallel passages above we see some different aspects of the story. We know from all three that while speaking with Moses and Elijah Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John. We also know from all three that Peter suggested they build three tabernacles (small temporary shelters). Putting the three together we know that Peter spoke out of fear and a desire to ‘do’ something and that they were sleepy and awoke seeing His glory. At the same time the desire to build the three tabernacles points to Peter’s desire to ‘camp’ at this experience. It was good and Peter wanted to prolong it. Yet when the Father spoke His it was clear that Moses and Elijah, representing the law and the prophets, were there to point to Jesus. They were prophets, Jesus is the Son, the eternal preexistent One.

Have we ever had experiences with Jesus that we seek to replicate or camp at? A good meeting or worship experience? A key experience during a prayer time? These experiences are a byproduct of being with Jesus so if our focus is on them rather than Jesus we can miss our purpose and calling. This glorious experience of the transfiguration was part of preparation for the horror of Gethsemane and the Cross. They both led to something much greater, the resurrection, yet had they “camped” with Jesus on the mountaintop they would have never come back to the valley to the most important event in human history. Jesus sacrificial death and resurrection.

At times we need to stop ‘camping’ at the good to get to the best. In referring to Jesus Paul said, “25  who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Romans 4:25 (NKJV) They both needed to happen and neither would have without leaving behind the transfiguration. So the only place we can ‘camp’ is in our relationship with Jesus and then going where He leads. Our lives are to be reshaped and transformed through the power of the resurrection. That is the ultimate experience – being found in Him.

After all, if our faith does not affect how we live, then pray tell what does it affect?

Intimacy Opportunities Part 7

I have one more intimacy opportunity to share. The power of reading and meditating on the word of God. I believe that while we easily acknowledge the value of the scriptures I am not sure how much we actually understand their value in practice. As a side note, a key way we can value the scriptures is by embracing what Isaiah spoke and wrote.

20  To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20 (NKJV)

Whatever experiences we may have need to be filtered through and weighed against the truth of scripture. Yet the scriptures are also designed to lead us to experiencing Jesus.

18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

As we sit with and interact with His word He changes us. We encounter Jesus and begin to differentiate between the desires of our soul and the leading of His Spirit. At times we may feel the change and at other times we may only know it because others observe it.

As we read ( I recommend reading aloud, there is a different dynamic) and meditate on Jesus word we encounter life. In fact Jesus is very explicit about what His words contain, we simply need to habitually eat this food for our spirits.  

63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63 (NKJV)

As a further example, below is something I have written for myself and though I am not 100% successful I desire to do it every day and recognize that some days are better than none. My goal is to meditate on these verses and encounter Jesus in the process, which I regularly do. Join me if you like. 

  • Sit in the light of Your presence and be renewed and restored. See You healing every part of me. Practice Is. 40:31 and Rom. 8:11 each day. Carry this throughout the day. Remember, Jesus is never in a hurry, He walks in His Father, I walk in Him. Spirit, soul and body are designed to live in and from a state of repose.

31  But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

11  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NKJV)