Seeing Our Lives Clearly
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 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!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Last week we looked at what it means to treasure things. And we considered the responsibility that all share to treasure things in heaven that cannot be lost, rather than things on earth that can be lost. What Jesus is referring to is the deep seated desires that all have that drive their behavior. This week we will think about the fact that those drives can direct us without even being conscious of them.
We can be angry for no reason, restless for no reason, argumentative for no reason, competitive, complaining etc without any real conscious thought.
And if we desire things that are not good for us, then we are traveling down the path of death, not life. It is only as we learn to prioritize the attitudes and actions that God has revealed to us that is best that we have the life that we are intended for.
Paul says in Romans 7: 14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
- The Eye is the Lamp of Your Life
- Jesus is talking here about perception
Mark 8: 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?
Mark 4: 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”
Have you heard the saying, “perception is realilty?” I had a previous manager in my life say that all the time. And I hate that saying. But, it is true in many ways. What you perceive as true, you will act on as true. But, if you perceive something to be true and it is not, then what? What is reality? God determines reality. This is the ultimate issue. And if our perception of what is good for us is not what God says is true, then we are walking in the dark.
How can we correctly perceive the circumstances of our lives. We have to know God’s Word. We have to walk with God personally. For instance, what about painful life circumstances? Should we perceive them as evil? God does not call on us to deny the painful things. But, we need to be thankful for the good that is there too! This choice to not focus on the negative is the correct perception.
Context of Jesus’ teaching is God’s rejection of the Jewish religion of the first century. Jesus is new wine, we need new wineskins. Our lives will not work by us just doing whatever we want and asking God to accept that. That is our rejected religious approach. Instead we must listen and obey (trust) the teaching and example of Jesus!!
- How do we get clear eyes?
The short answer is to follow Jesus’ teaching. Laying up treasures in heaven will cause one to have a clear eye.
*Prioritizing the attitudes of the Be-attitudes.
*Understanding the intent of the law and pursuing that whole heartedly!
*Practicing our acts of righteousness before God so that we might reflect His character as our goal.
Praying: (Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done!)
The question for all of us today is what is God doing in our lives? What is His kingdom purpose for our lives?
It can be ministry to kids or grandkids. It can be ministry to friends, to a spouse. It can be ministry to the community. It can be work. God has a kingdom purpose for every one of our lives. It is no less important to support cooks and servers in a restaurant than it is to teach a Bible lesson at church. In fact, I would argue that to actually live out the truth of the gospel is much more important than talking about it!
Look at Ephesians 4:
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
(Gentiles have futile thinking. They have eyes that are not clear. They do not perceive correctly! Futile thinking. Darkened understanding. Separated from the life of God. Ignorant. Hard hearted (they don’t feel correctly.) No one would be this way if they perceived it!
So, God shows us this in our lives through His Word and through the Holy Spirit and ministry of others. That is what the next verses tell us.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
So, we learn that the truth is in Jesus. The truth about what? The truth about my life, my desires, my priorities! And since we believe that Jesus is the truth, we learn that we are to:
- Put off the old desires (the old self, old perceptions, old priorities)
- Embrace new attitudes (new perceptions, a new standard for what life is. This can take time!)
- Put on new desires (desires that are like God, true and righteous all together!)
This is why II Tim 3:16 tells us:
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be perfect, equipped for every good work.
And then Paul gives examples!
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
- Light means you do the right thing
We do not come straight from the factory of adulthood without some eye issues. Blessed are the poor in spirit!
Anxieties and fears are indicators of not having a clear eye. Jesus teaching tells us that we are off, then we begin the process of working on the issues of life that are hard for us.
Inspect the fruit of your life! Is it the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Or is it the fruit of the flesh?
Galatians 5: 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
And here Jesus goes, giving an example of what He is teaching that gets to the heart of much of human behavior!