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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Humility And Prayer

In the words of John MacDuff:

It is not merely the pleadings of patriarchs and prophets, apostles and martyrs, men strong in faith giving glory to God. Neither is it the prayers enshrined and intoned in imposing ritual, rising from the great congregation amid ornate temples, and borne on the wings of enchanting music – but the groan, the glance, the tear, the tremulous aspiration of smitten penitents, the veriest lisping of infant tongues; the unlettered petitions morning and evening of the cottage home, where the earthen floor is knelt upon, where the only altar is the altar of the lowly heart, and the sacrifice that of a broken and contrite spirit.

The Single Eye

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! (Matthew 6:22-23 ESV)

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23 KJV)

Have you ever meditated on Matthew 6:22-23? I have often compared the two Bible translations above to attempt to discern what Christ means by His teaching. I think we all understand that when the eye is functioning properly, we can see everything around us as it really is. Here, however, Jesus is speaking spiritually about light and darkness and the eye’s effect upon the way we pursue our lives. The eye is the way we think spiritually. It will have a profound impact upon the development of our human character. It will determine what we treasure most in our lives.

The eye represents, in the sense used above, our moral sense of right and wrong, our understanding, and practical judgment. Just as the physical eye guides and directs our actions; the spiritual eye must be “healthy” or “single” in order to make correct judgments and discern the treasures which are “full of light”. On the other hand, if the eye is “bad” or “evil”, the heart and life will be “full of darkness”.

The healthy or single eye is a mind illuminated by the Spirit of God and the absolute truth of God’s Word. The healthy eye is focused on pleasing and glorifying God. If we aim at the glory of God, then the eye is healthy. But if the eye is bad, we will treasure those things that lead us away from God into the darkness. The healthy eye, therefore, represents spiritual wisdom which is the gift of God in Christ. It is Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3 ESV)

The need of seeking a healthy eye is evidenced by the fact that the natural man possesses an eye that is bad or evil, and thus fills the whole body with darkness. The natural man does not see the things of God.

At regeneration the whole soul is filled with light. Provided with an enlightened understanding and conscience, the Christian is now able to distinguish between good and evil; that which is heavenly and that which is worldly. The blindness of the natural man appears in his ignorance of God and of himself. His mind has no spiritual discernment. The natural man is completely unaware of the darkness which blocks his understanding. Yet, he thinks himself wise.

Prior to the fall of mankind through Adam, our unencumbered faculties guided our actions and emotions. Afterwards, man’s mind became subject to his baser nature and emotions. The cure and only hope for man’s current condition is God’s grace. May He be merciful to us all!

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