Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
I don’t know if you ever notice this (I don’t), but some people have a different aura about them; a separate factor in their appearance aside from the norm that sets them apart. Someone close to me has an uncanny ability to read people- and when it comes to reading pastors, she is able to watch them for about five minutes and tell if something isn’t right. To be clear, I can’t tell any sort of difference when looking at someone, and I usually follow pastors by their Holy Spirit-infused words. Nevertheless, she’s been proven right; and the pastors with real staying power she’s enjoyed right away while the one’s she’s been less impressed by…well, two of them so far have ended up having to bow out of the ministry due to scandal. Even how, I never really bought into this whole thing until one day. On that day the Lord had me witness multiple people complimenting the same guy on his appearance (even though he’s nothing special) and the Holy Spirit then lit up a passage in which Jesus confirms that some people do have an extra glow about them.
Jesus taught about salt and light during his ministry. Scripture records;
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16).
Usually when we read these sorts of passages we associate them with good works. But one time the message was a little different. Jesus explains in Luke 11:33-36,
No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body is also full of darkness. See to it then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.
According to Christ our eyes are the light to our bodies. That is, they can light your body. If you cast your eyes on good things you’ll glow (like when a lamp shines on you), if on bad things you will not glow. So take care of what you watch.
…But that’s not so easy to actually do. Solomon wrote that,
All things are wearisome,
More than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
Nor the ear its fill of hearing (Ecclesiastes 1:8).
And boy was he right! With all the stimuli we’re bombarded with daily, it takes a considerable effort to avoid stuff we shouldn’t be looking at (like indecency, violence, etc) because, (1) there’s sinful and troublesome stuff everywhere (on TV, the internet, and in advertisements), and (2) we like looking at such things. Curiosity seems to play a big role in our desire to view the taboo. Plus, crime shows are able to hold our interests so that we end up ingesting more violence than we should. And to be quite honest, people can get a thrill out of sexual media (if they didn’t such media would be pushed out of the market). Job one said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). Well that’s good for you Job, but really what are the rest of us to do? James 4:2 tells us, “You want something but you don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.” If you’re having trouble keeping your eyes on the right things, ask the Lord to help you. God controls all time and space, therefore he can set up things so that it becomes difficult for you to get into trouble.
…But you have to be willing to actually give such things up (possibly related activities as well). The Bible tells us,
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
The Lord would not have listened;
But God has surely listened
And heard my voice in prayer (Psalms 66:19).
If you’re not ok with ditching all the questionable things you like, don’t expect God to help you. Why does God’s system work like this? Well, Jude gave a clue to it as he wrote, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (Jude 1:22-23). Even the clothing stained by sin is to be hated, that’s why we’re to avoid all activities surrounding the sin we’re trying to escape. For more information on this sort of stuff, check out “Dealing With Sin.” Anyway, Paul knew how hard it was to break away from our desires so he compared it to very hard training when he wrote,
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).
Keep in mind though that even if you are praying for the Lord to keep bad things away from you (and your eyes), it’s likely he’ll give you opportunities to better yourself through your own strength as well. Paul explains, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Just as physical training helps the body, spiritual training (from the Lord) can help train you in holiness. The Lord does this for us, but never puts weights on our training too heavy to handle; for it is written,
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faith; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
I think calling such things “tests” from God isn’t fair because he isn’t testing you; you’re allowed to face sin so that you can actually explore the options God has given you to get out of it.
The point of all this is that looking at good things here on earth is important; probably more important than most of us realize. Your eyes are a two way street, they can give you an awesome glow or lead you into sin. There’s a reason Moses preached, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17). Coveting basically starts the whole sin process. James outlines the road to sin in Scripture:
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:13-15).
Even Jesus got in on the sin-eye-connection: “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). Jesus doesn’t mess around with the subject. Luckily, you don’t actually need to pluck out your eyes; for the road to heaven is not paved with plucked eyeballs, but rather with the blood of Jesus Christ. He gave his life so that you may be saved from your sin and come into a relationship with God. As it is written,
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9-10).
If you do have a sin problem and are without Christ in your life, check out the “Emergency Salvation Kit” and get right with the Lord so you can get on the road to recovery.
Your eyes are the lamp of your body, and your body is God’s temple; as is written,
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Make your Temple (and continence) bright by keeping your eyes clean. You’ll look better, and probably feel better too.