Thursday, March 5, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 54)

Jesus said, “The lamp that lights up the body is the eye. So if your eyes are in good condition, your whole body will be filled with light.”
— Matthew 6:22 (USC)
Optical acuity is crucial to life, unless we are physically blind. Then the other senses have freer rein in the decision-making processes of a so-called disaffected person. They become better for the deficit. And so the eye has great potential if we will hone its effect.
It’s obviously not the physical sense that’s in view.
It’s the spiritual sense of vision that Jesus is talking about.
Spiritual vision really has little to do with the optical sense, apart from the practical issues of the eye’s provision – things we may see and know and, hence, understand. With the eye we have opportunities. It enhances the experience of life. It gives life meaning. What we see directs our paths. We go where go because of what we see.
So it is with spiritual vision.
Jesus seems to suggest here that it’s imperative that we care for the instrument that the heart works through. If the heart receives the light that the eye will let through – and it must – for the heart is influenced easily for good or evil – then our eye must be kept healthy.
What might we associate as the eye to enhance our spiritual agency? It’s the mind. If our minds are exposed to good stimuli our thoughts are pure. If it’s bad stimuli we immerse ourselves in, we can resist the impurity for a time, but sooner or later we begin to slide, because those thoughts seep into the recesses of the heart and we begin to feel rotten.
Spiritual vision is effectual when we discern and are careful of our path. Wisdom is the diligent and prudent use of what visual acuity we have been blessed with.
Caring for our sense for spiritual vision is caring for our wellbeing so light has uninterrupted access to edify us. God communicates his special revelation through light – truth purges the darkness.
If our sense for spiritual vision is fit and attuned to God we can absorb much light. That is our task; to remain cleansed of mind – as far as we can – for some thoughts creep up on us unawares, of which we are forgiven.
If we keep our minds as pure as we can our hearts will be able to accept God’s light.
1.     Our minds are fertile ground. What sort of ‘fertiliser’ would you need to flourish if your mind is the instrument of your spiritual vision?
2.     Think about your capacity to learn; your hunger to learn (Matthew 5:6) righteousness. What role does this play in reserving your efforts and energies for virtue?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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