Integrity Sermon Honest to God, Part 2

January 7, 2009 · Print This Article

Honest to God, Part 2
Singleness of Eye


The Word

Text: Luke 11:33-36

Making eye contact with the Father

Three times in His teaching ministry, as recorded in the Scriptures, Jesus uses the figure of a candle. We are most familiar with its use as a witness being shown forth (Matthew 5). In Mark 4, He uses the figure of a candle to talk about the Holy Spirit shedding light on truth. In this passage of Scripture, the image of candle is talking about the light of our eye.

My heart finds an avenue of communication to God through the window of my soul, which is my eye. Eye contact demands so much of us, and, while not always an indication of deception or character weakness, most of us have trouble looking directly at people.  Just today my wife said make eye contact with me, I want to see you!

The difficulty of direct contact, that sense of embarrassment, is compounded many times over when we come to the Lord because He is light (1 John 1:5). Once the candle has been lit in your soul, ignited in us through Jesus Christ, the light of the world, it draws the source of its light from the Father. The Holy Spirit tends that flame, and it is sustained by looking unto Him who is light, and life.

Jesus is saying that if we, who have had that candle lit in us, begin to shroud it in darkness—in the shadows of our own hiding—then our darkness is greater than the darkness of those who do not know the Lord because they have learned to accommodate their own groping in it. He says, if your eye is single, your whole body is full of light. But if your eye is evil, the body is full of darkness.

If I am thinking I’m living in the light, but I’ve shaded the light because it is showing up things in my life I prefer hidden, then I’m living in the “twilight zone” of an experience that does not walk fully open before God, eye to eye with the Father. It’s not darkness undiscovered; it’s the darkness of shading my eye contact from the Father, light coming in only on the slant. And when He deals with me, I hear Him talking but I don’t want to acknowledge it.

There are believers who are beyond turning their backs on God, but not above asking Him to “just shine on their good side,” instead of coming fully open before Him and asking Him to burn out the darkness.

Don’t shut out the full blaze of His glory

This expression, “if your eye be single,” introduces a powerful word picture. The basic idea of evil here is focused on that which is not life-giving, and so it disintegrates life.

The idea behind this “singleness” has to do with the concept of being folded, i.e., Don’t let your eye be “folded.” It goes back to ancient times when a merchant might present a piece of fabric to an unsuspecting woman folded in a manner so as to hide its flaws. By cleverly handling the fabric, he was a slick salesman to a trusting and vulnerable buyer.

Jesus is talking about a countenance that is totally open before God. In Matthew 5:8 He declares blessing on the pure in heart for they shall see God. He didn’t say “Blessed are the pure in life” because that have would excommunicated all of us from the possibility of seeing God work in our lives. He tells us to bring our hearts before Him and look at Him, in full openness. Don’t cover up, look askance, or make a defense.

We do a lot of sweeping the dust under the rug of our souls. When it comes to the matters of our spiritual life, we can be so smooth we deceive ourselves. We don’t say the words but inside we know that God is dealing with our hearts but we’re not going to acknowledge it. That’s why Jesus said that, if in the area where theoretically you’ve opened to light, you are willfully tolerating darkness and intentionally shutting out the full blaze of His glory, how compounded is that darkness that claims to be light? It’s worse than total darkness.

Coming before Him with singleness of eye is not that you have arrived at perfection, but that there is a totality of openness to Him. That’s the point. God is infinitely merciful, abundantly patient, incredibly gracious, but that grace, mercy and patience really only work where there is a heart that opens to Him with an eye that looks directly up to and upon Him, not askance.

 

According to the idols of their hearts

In Ezekiel 14 the Lord tells Ezekiel that the elders of Israel are going to come to him and ask for a word from the Lord, but that they are men who have set idols in their hearts and stumbling blocks of disobedience in front of their faces.

Their eyes saw things fully in the light of God’s will, but they asked for help only where they wanted it. We want God in our lives, but we want Him only on own terms. The Lord tells Ezekiel they’ve been warned enough; He’s not going to rebuke them. He says He will answer them, and they will think they’re receiving the word of the Lord, but the answer they will receive will actually be according to the idols of their hearts.

Those idols were not just stone. Behind them were spirit beings and the works of darkness—demons, principalities and powers. The worship of an idol was a submission to satanic influence in the life. It did not constitute possession, but a portion of the life being under the dominion of darkness rather than light.

The Lord said that because they have made the idols their god instead of making Him fully their God, He would answer them according to those idols.

And here’s the frightening reality of that statement: God is saying: I will let the demons tell them what to do, and they will in their heart think it’s Me that’s telling them that, and I will let them think it.

Don’t let that take away your confidence that if you ask the Lord to help you, you can be sure it’s Him. If you are not doing what they were doing, you have nothing to fear. They had set up their own idols. They knew exactly what they were doing. It was not a matter of ignorance where people don’t recognize something yet. They had made up their minds to only listen to God for what they wanted to hear, not to come to Him with openness of heart and singleness of eye.

After they had made up their minds, “I will to have my own will,” they came and asked, “God, what do You say?” It’s not unfair of God to let us have our will on earth but not as it is in heaven. It’s unwise of us. We are to come before the Lord with:

·         integrity of heart,

·         singleness of eye,

·         transparent in our honesty,

·         and one priority: Your will be done, not mine.

It may take a while, but God will perfect His patience, mercy and grace in that kind of heart, with singleness of eye. With that, the whole life shines brightly, not because of its accomplished righteousness but because your heart is open and your eye is single upon God, not folded or hidden in any way.

When you block out the light, you can’t see God

All of us are intended to be spokesmen for God (Joel 2:28). The purpose of God giving us His Spirit is so that we see the Lord, His way and His will, and speak what we see. That’s for everyone, not just the experts. We cannot afford to lose our vision of the Lord, because if we cannot clearly see the Lord, we have nothing to say. Those who become like the elders who approached Ezekiel compromise the force of Spirit; everything they say comes out with obscure words and muddled phrases—they may be eloquent and fluent but there’s no cutting dynamic that comes from light. They have no vision because they can’t see God.

We need to ask the Lord, “I want to see the way You see, not the way I look at things.” Though we have no idea of it, God is working out a victory in each of our lives that has to do with the decision of whether we will live with a single eye or one that disintegrates into the shadows. You may not even realize that the very things that would tempt you today to live in the shadows are the places where, in the light, God would one day have you to be an effective minister of His life. But you will only arrive there if you make up your mind to live in the light and look openly on His face.

Would you join me in this prayer?

Holy Father God, I come before You and lift my countenance to look upon Your glory. Unworthy though I am, You invite me, through Jesus, and so I come. Burn out the shadows in my life, Lord. Though I fall, lift me up; though I stumble, hold me by Your hand; though I’m a sinner, forgive me for Jesus’ sake. Lead me in Your way and teach me in Your truth that will keep on setting me free. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

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