When the eye is bad

Any reader of this column will know by now that I just love the daylilies with the dark “eye zones,” or centers.

“Moonlit Masquerade,” “Raspberry Candy,” and “Carpetbagger” are some of my favorites, with their dark eye zone giving the blooms a stark contrast. They have a certain appeal, and they also remind us of a basic Bible truth about our spiritual sight.

This week I had a procedure done on only one of my eyes, and it has rendered me pretty much useless for a couple of days with the use of only one eye. With that eye being “sympathetic” to the affected eye, it made anything requiring sight to be quite painful, and I kept bumping into things. I even walked into a branch of Althea out in the garden, poking my good eye! This verse kept coming to mind.

“The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34, NASB).

Well, daylilies with lighter eyes are just as good as the more strikingly contrasted ones, but it’s not true with humans, who actually have to see with our eyes.

This is the same chapter that tells us “Seek, and you will find” (Luke 11:9), and “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:28). This chapter also contains a sharp rebuke to the Pharisees who put their own rules and regulations above a love for God’s revealed word and pure obedience to him.

There is an odd phrasing after this verse, telling us to be sure the light we experience is the right kind. “Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness” (Luke 11:35).

How many of us have hurriedly read verse 35 and didn’t see the implicit warning about the light in us? How can the light in us be darkness? Well, if we don’t really think of it, we just figure that if we feel illuminated in any way, it must be the right kind.

The Bible is really very concise and doesn’t give the kinds of details as most biographies would. Every word and phrase is inspired, “God-breathed.” There is a purpose to every word. So what could this warning possibly mean?

The verse implies that there is an enlightenment that is not true light. We can feel enlightened when we follow Christian principles, even while we might reject the authority of the Christ who gave those principles. We can proclaim that we follow the Bible; but when it conflicts with a previously held belief, we might reject those teachings because we already feel enlightened.

The true light that will allow us to see clearly is found in God’s word, not in the philosophy of mankind, and not in our own feelings. We must open our eyes to allow ourselves to see clearly. We must never stop learning, no matter how far we feel we have come in our spiritual enlightenment.

“The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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