Chapter 6 – Surrender your Light

 

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

– Matthew 6:22-24, NIV

This, to me at least, sounds like a strange concept. What is a healthy eye, and how does a person come to acquire one? Somehow I don’t think Jesus was talking about using eye drops or wearing contact lenses. And in what way is the human eye a lamp? How does a healthy eye fill the body with light? And how does an unhealthy eye fill the body with darkness? First, let’s look at the idea of health. Often the health of a creature depends on what it eats, and on the things that it does. A person can become unhealthy for example by eating high quantities of unhealthy foods, and by doing no exercise. Except for in cases of injury or illness, a person is usually healthy if they eat what is good for the body and exercise the body regularly.

So what does this health mean in terms of the human eye? I’m sure that if Jesus was stating a biological fact that if the human eye is physically healthy and has no need for glasses then the body will have some sort of physical glow to it, any scientist would dismiss Him as a madman. So it seems that when Jesus in this context talks about the body, he is referring to the person as a whole. Thus, when Jesus refers to the eye, He must also be talking about something non-physical, such as the things a person chooses to look at.

If we want our eyes to be healthy, this means we must feed our eyes the right things, or choose to look at the things that are healthy for our spirit and will not cause us damage. It may be obvious to us that some things are unhealthy to look at, but the Bible doesn’t always seem like a clear recipe book for healthy meals for the eyes. We are told, however, that it is not only healthy and good but wonderful and great to look at Jesus, to fix our eyes on Him – and that He will bring us light. Without looking to Him we fall into darkness, and when we keep our eyes on Him we have the light to guide us and lead us away from temptation; we are enabled to live in His will when we fix our eyes on Him.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

– Psalm 121:1-2, NIV

What does it mean for us to turn our eyes to Heaven and keep our vision fixed on God? How will it bring us light or help us through life? Jesus’ words imply that health and light are connected – but what is light, and what does it mean to be full of light? Is it true that when we turn our attention to Him, the insignificant problems of life fade away as we see His light? I have found that regardless of our awareness of His presence, problems in life still remain – they do not simply disappear or fix themselves because of God’s presence with us.

But when a room is filled with light, we see things for what they really are rather than dim shadows or silhouettes that may be misleading. When Jesus is the light of our being, when we focus on Him and let Him bring revelation to our lives, we learn to see our situations in the right perspective and we see how insignificant and dim our troubles are in comparison with how great and glorious and beautiful He is; we see the immensity of His plans for us. If the “eye” (as referred to in Jesus’ words in Matthew 6) is healthy, we are able to see clearly, as if seeing things in the light rather than in darkness. When we feed our eyes what is good and healthy for our souls, our whole understanding and our whole being is filled with the light of Christ, so we can see situations for what they are – and can see where He is leading us day by day. May we surrender to God the light in our eyes.

 Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace

– Helen Lemmel

How do we turn our eyes upon Jesus? How do we feed our eyes this healthy food, so that our whole being is filled with light? By surrendering to God what we choose to look at. We can choose to focus on Him rather than on our sin or our temptation or our situations, and then His light can guide us through those things. We can surrender to Him the things that we choose to look at, and let Him guide our eyes.

Our eyes are bombarded with things all the time, because it is usually what we see that draws our attention and makes us think. Adverts that are bright and colourful or involve things that we find attractive to look at, such as a steaming Spaghetti Bolognese, or a happy child or sleeping baby, or people having fun with friends or family, attract our attention through our eyes and may even give us the desire to buy the product advertised. I think this may be a part of what Jesus meant when He said that the eye is the lamp of the body – sometimes what we see can influence our desires and choices, and what we choose to look at can influence our attitudes and play a part in shaping our character.

This doesn’t mean that it is a sin to ever look at anything negative or ever see any pain. We must not alienate ourselves from the realities of such things; by ignoring them what light would we bring to dark and painful situations? But we do have a choice as to whether we feed our eyes what is good and pure and godly, or what is damaging and can produce darkness in us. May we surrender to God what we look at, and allow Him to plant His light within us.

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

– John 12:35-36, NIV

Let us not hide in darkness but choose to keep our eyes clean. In Matthew 5:28 (NIV) Jesus says, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” If what we look at when we see other people is not “God’s creation, His beloved child, one for whom God has great plans…” but someone to be used for our own pleasure or convenience – even using someone as an excuse to get our own way – then the light of Christ clearly does not guide our lives, and our relationships with other people are not healthy; neither is our relationship with God guiding our mindsets. This needs to change – may we let God’s light guide the way we look at people. May we surrender to God the health of our eyes and the light within us as a result of it.

In Ephesians 5:11-14 (NIV), Paul instructs us, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” If we walk in the light, we are clearly visible. A person can easily hide while walking in the dark, but in the day time people can be much more clearly seen. As a spiritual concept this can sometimes be scary – if people see us for who we are, if we let God’s light shine on us, then we may be unable to hide the things that we have done wrong, and so we would run the risk of losing people’s respect as they see through any masks or walls we may be putting up. Light brings exposure and vulnerability.

Walking in God’s light, therefore, makes it difficult for us to hide: we are transparent before Him and before the world, and people can see the truth of who we are, the truth within us. Far from being a wholly negative thing, this means that people see God’s light and truth in us – God can use us to shine for His glory and show people who He is when we let His light shine in our lives. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” John 1:5 (NIV). When our eyes are healthy and our whole bodies are filled with light, it lets people see us as God’s creations and see Him who guides and fills and loves and protects and feeds us.

How can we let God’s light shine in us this way? Though surrendering to God the light in our eyes, and any masks or barriers that we may have up around us. We must be willing to let people see the truth in us. People say that the eye is the window to the soul – so may we open our eyes and let people look; let people see the Truth and Life that we have received. Let there be no darkness to hide under or to cover things with in our lives. May we surrender this into God’s hands, and give Him control.

The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.

– Proverbs 20:27, NLT

No sin or trouble is beyond God’s grace and restoration, and no filth is beyond His cleansing. A church once did a confession activity in which people would write their sin or guilt on a piece of paper and stick it to a large wooden cross at the front of the church, leaving it in Jesus’ hands. A small boy participated and wrote, “I’m sorry God, because I lie.” He signed his name on the piece of paper. Later his mother asked him why he had written his name on the paper. His answer: “Because if people know who I am, maybe they can help me change.” It should not be a negative or shameful thing for the truth of our lives, thoughts, failings and mistakes to be exposed before the world, but an opportunity for God to show His goodness and for us to grow.

When we turn on a light in the room, the shadows do not try to fight back and extinguish it – the darkness instantly has to retreat and has no other option. When we let God shape our eyes and make us healthy, filling us with His light, the darkness within us has to retreat. Are we willing to let God’s light shine on us, turning our faces to Him regardless of what it may cost us? May we surrender to God and let Him bring light to His truth in us, making us aware of His plans and promises, and lighting up His path for us so that we are motivated to move forward with Him. May we learn to surrender to God the light in our heart and the holiness in your eyes – the things we choose to look at and see. May God teach us His truth so that what we look at is guided by Him and so that the ways we look at things are led by His light.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Ephesians 1:18-19, NIV

 

Lord my Light and my Salvation,

Thank You that You want to use us to shine Your light to the world.

Thank You that You can make us clean.

I’m sorry for sometimes trying to hide parts of my life in darkness.

I’m sorry that my eyes aren’t always healthy, and that I reject Your light.

I surrender to You the health of my eyes, and the light in my being.

I give into Your hands the things I choose to look at:

– the way I look at the media, adverts, magazines, films

– the way I look at other people and what I see

– the way I look at Your truth in me and Your plans for me

Please help me to keep my eyes healthy.

Help me to live in Your light.

Teach me Your truth and let it guide my vision at all times.

Help me to see with an eternal perspective.

I surrender to You the way I live as a result of Your light in my eyes.

Please shape my understanding.

May I live in Your ways, looking where You want me to look and seeing what You want me to see.

Amen

 

 

 

Lord, the light of Your love is shining, in the midst of the darkness, shining

Jesus, light of the world, shine upon us; set us free by the truth You now bring us

Shine on me, shine on me

Shine, Jesus, shine! Fill this land with the Father’s glory!

Blaze, Spirit, blaze! Set our hearts on fire!

Flow, river, flow! Flood the nations with grace and mercy!

Send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light!

Lord, I come to Your awesome presence, from the shadows into Your radiance

By the blood I may enter Your brightness; search me, try me, consume all my darkness

Shine on me, shine on me

Shine, Jesus, shine! Fill this land with the father’s glory!

Blaze, Spirit, blaze! Set our hearts on fire!

Flow, river, flow! Flood the nations with grace and mercy!

Send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light!

As we gaze on Your kingly brightness, so our faces display Your likeness

Ever changing from glory to glory; mirrored here may our lives tell Your story

Shine on me, shine on me

Shine, Jesus, shine! Fill this land with the father’s glory!

Blaze, Spirit, blaze! Set our hearts on fire!

Flow, river, flow! Flood the nations with grace and mercy!

Send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light!

– Graham Kendrick

 

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