I was recently visiting with a member of our congregation and he shared with me that it seemed like the picture on his television was getting darker so he invited his grandson to come over to his home to check out his television to see if there was any way he could make the picture brighter. In addition he mentioned how he had gradually lost his ability to read the newspaper. Well, a few weeks ago he had cataract surgery in which they removed the cloudy lens of his eye and replaced it with an artificial one that was clear. He said, “Within a day I could read the newspaper without glasses again and the television was also remarkably clear.”
As I was reflecting on his story, Jesus’ words from Luke 11:34 immediately came to mind.
34 “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.”
Here Jesus describes how our perception affects our soul. When Jesus refers to healthy eyes, he meant eyes that not only see well, but also that perceive well. So it’s not only what we see, but how we perceive that impacts our ability to live as the light of the world. Bad eyes lead to bad perception, but if our spiritual eyes are good, our body, soul and spirit will be illuminated. Just like, if we are in a well lit room, we see things clearly and therefore are able to easily navigate around the obstacles in the room. On the other hand walking in a dark room will often result in walking into tables and chairs and doorways.
Everyday our eyes filter thousands of images that are good or evil, beneficial or harmful, and our perception of them, the meaning we give to them, or the story we tell ourselves about them inform our world view. If we perceive goodness, goodness will radiate outward from within our hearts and minds. However, if we allow our eyes to linger on evil, eventually darkness will begin to emanate from within and can corrupt us and those around us.
In preparing for our message on putting on the belt of truth, I am reminded of II Corinthians 11:14 where Paul alerts us to the fact that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. The number one scheme of the devil to destroy you and me is to cloud our vision—to make us think we found the light when it’s actually the darkness of a false light. His intention is to slowly blind us to the truth and therefore corrupt our minds and eventually our behavior.
Using his army of demons and those who follow him, the father of lies continually parades a never ending stream of evil for us to gaze upon. In addition to all the images that feed the lust of our eyes and the lusts of our flesh, Satan would also try to deceive us into thinking that he is actually winning the battle between light and dark and that God is helplessly trying to figure out how to stop him.
Satan would love nothing more for us than to focus on the darkness of a health issue that doesn’t appear to be improving, on strained relationships, on the rising cost of providing for your family, on the current challenge of the harvest including yields and commodity prices, on the political turmoil in America, on the inability of the church to be the light of the world…and the list goes on and on.
But not so with you and me. Let’s pause and invite Jesus to perform his spiritual cataract surgery on you and me. Jesus is the light of the world. In this world we will have trouble, but the Truth is, he has overcome all that we perceive as darkness. 35 “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” Hide it under a bushel, NO!! Mike Altena