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! — Matt. 6:22-23
Jesus seems to be as concerned with inputs as He is with outputs. While the Sermon on the Mount holds up the distinctly Kingdom-oriented way of life (Kingdom ethics), Jesus also emphasizes the a priori nature of Kingdom consumption. Before we can say “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps34), we must first have tasted and seen for ourselves. This is precisely the kind of “seeing” that Jesus alludes to — a vision experience that transforms from the inside-out. Religious experience precedes ethics.
It would follow, then, that disciples of Jesus attempt to make themselves aware of the soul consumption-temptations that impair the pursuit of Kingdom ethics. Past failings don’t seem to matter as much as present faithfulness. Yesterday’s failings — rather than being shameful reminders of our brokenness and proclivity toward seduction — are redemptively reconfigured as declarations that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8.1). Yet, those failings serve as warnings against the kind of corrosive consumption that plagues the soul and impairs faithful witness (again, Kingdom ethics). If we perpetually imbibe darkness, how will light emanate from within our hearts? How will we fulfill the call to be light in the world?
It is worth noting that this teaching is sandwiched between two statements about money. Greed flows forth from a distorted vision of the world — an economy predicated on hoarding as many of God’s limited resources as possible. We accumulate and amass for fear that we’ll wake up one morning and it’ll all be gone. But the Kingdom of God lifts this cataract and sets right our vision, helping us to see afresh the world as a place teeming with life and abundance. Rather than devoting ourselves to the shallow pursuit of possession, Kingdom vision liberates us to live generously and hospitably within God’s abundance. This is the place of true faith; “Give us this day our daily bread.”
When was the last time you and I prayed that prayer?
Lord, give us eyes to see…