Matthew 6:22-23 – 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! (NIV 2011)
In our Bible study group, we were reflecting on the reality of the temptations that we face as we seek to live Christ-centred lives. During the discussion, Ted offered some down-to-earth wisdom: "The birds are going to fly in and out, but do we let them build a nest while they're in?"
Here in Canada, we have a number of birds, such as the barn swallow, which use the overhanging parts of buildings as sheltered locations for their nests. Every day, they fly in and out. So do the temptations that we encounter each day, but do we give them a home? Do we allow them to "build a nest" and stay?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus cautioned His listeners (and us) about the danger of focusing our eyes too long, too often, on what is unhealthy for us. The temptations that you and I face may be big or seemingly small and insignificant. However, if we let our eyes (and then our thoughts) concentrate upon what is of the realm of darkness in this life, we will become used to and increasingly accepting of the presence of this darkness in our own lives. In the growing darkness, it is so much harder not to stumble and fall. The "nest" is being built.
Jesus said that "the eye is lamp of our body". Upon what do we focus our attention each day? Our Father of grace doesn't leave us to stumble along on our own, though. His Holy Spirit, gifted to us when we ask Jesus to be our Saviour and our Master, is that inner voice and nudging, reminding us of right and wrong. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12 NIV 2011) The apostle Paul gives us wise counsel: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things." (Philippians 4:8 NIV 2011)
In your life and mine, temptations will "fly in". May we remember and encourage each other to keep our eyes healthy by fixing them on Jesus and the truth of His Word.
Prayer: Father, thank You for never leaving us to walk alone. We pray, in our weakness, for Your strength, to focus our vision not upon the world, but upon Jesus. Amen.
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