pen thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law..."(Psalms 119:118)
'The Eyes of Your Understanding'
© 1981 Diane S. Dew
The apostle Paul prayed that, "the eyes your understanding being enlightened ... ye may know what is the hope of His calling ..." (Ephesians 1:18) How this is accomplished and realized in our lives is made clear by the verse immediately preceding: "in the knowledge of Him." (Ephesians 1:17)
Our spiritual senses can be sharpened to such a degree that, while we cannot help but be affected by circumstances surrounding us, we can actually become all the better for them. This can come only from spending time with the Lord, for then we can see our circumstances through His eyes: "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened."
There is within us a capacity for vision beyond the natural eyesight. (Matthew 13:13-17; Luke 8:10) We must learn to see things as God sees them -- no longer from a shallow, human plateau but rather from the divine viewpoint. Doing so will touch every aspect of our lives. All that we see around us is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 John 2:17) What we can see with the natural eye is not reality, but those things that remain unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Jesus advised the Laodicean church of Revelation 3:14-22 to "anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." The implication is that their eyes were not perceiving what they were supposed to behold. Now, He was not speaking to unbelievers here, or instructing them in the way of salvation. These words were spoken to the church.
He was not speaking of natural eyesight but was referring to the distorted view that they had of their own spiritual condition. (vv. 17, 18) It is outside the door of this church that the picture is given of Jesus standing and knocking. (v. 20) Inside, men were measuring their spiritual "success" by natural means (perhaps impressive attendance charts, overflowing offering baskets, etc.) and thought that because they had become "rich and increased with goods" that they were in "need of nothing." (v. 17) This self-confidence and false security caused within them a dulling of their spiritual sensitivity and, thus, an inability to discern or appreciate the Lord's Presence: for here they were, "having church," and the Lord was not even present! Yet they were not even aware that His Presence was not with them but had departed (Ichabod: "the glory of the Lord has departed")! Apparently they were too busy with the program to notice His absence. (He was outside, knocking on the door.) Nevertheless, his invitation to the individuals among them who could hear his voice was to oen the door and let him in (v. 20)
This passage of scripture provides us with a clear picture of much of churchianity today. God says, "My ways are higher than your ways ..." (Isa 55:9) His estimation of value and worth are essentially opposite the world's. Spiritual "success" cannot be measured by the standards of man. To try to do so would be like trying to determine the length of a ruler with a measuring cup. It cannot be done. That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of the spirit is spirit. "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36)
Not only the values and goals of God's kingdom, but also the means of attaining them, are in direct opposition to the ways of the world. (Mark 10:42, 43) Numbers are not unimportant to God (it is His desire that all be saved, 2 Pet 3:9); that we bring forth fruit "an hundredfold," Mat 13:8; etc.), but they do not count in the kingdom the same way as we might think they should. God can do more with a few who are faithful than with a multitude of uncommitted individuals.
Consider the example of Gideon's army. (Judges chapter 7) God "said unto Gideon, The people that wer with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands." (v. 2) The leader was instructed to slim his ranks by 22,000! "And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many." (v. 4) Again the army was reduced, this time to only 300 men. With them the victory was won! God's reason for choosing to use a few rather than the multitude that was available is revealed in verse 2: An attitude of self-sufficiency and independence (from a confidence in their own numbers rather than a confidence in the Lord) would have blinded them from recognizing the hand of God in the victory. This is what Paul meant when he said that God's grace (ability and strength) is "made perfect in (man's) weakness." (2 Corin 12:9)
Many have made a one-time trip to the altar,
but he seeks those with whom he can share his secrets.
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name," Jesus said, "there am I in the midst of them." (Mat 18:20 ) The Lord chose not to identify Himself with "the crowd" (John 5:13; 6;15); yet he always personally made himself available to the "two or three" who sought him out on an individual basis. God is not impressed with quantity but seeks quality, for he has eternity in mind. He builds for permanence. (2 Corin 4:17) Many have made a one-time trip to the altar, but he seeks those with whom he can share his secrets. (Psa 25:14)
Of all his disciples, Jesus chose twelve to "be with him" in a special way. But of those few there were three who shared in an even more intimate relationship than the others: Peter, James and John (Mark 5:37; 14:33; Luke 9:28) yet is was John, "The disciple whom Jesus loved" and who leaned on the breast of Jesus (John 13;23; 19:26; 21:2) that knew him best. he alone could be found at the foot of the cross, when the going got tough. (John 19:26, 27) With a mere handful of men, God "turned the world upside down." (Acts 17:6)
The manner in which we view our circumstances often directly influences the effect they have on our lives. Caleb saw the blessings of the Lord and encouraged the people to "go up at once, and possess" the land, "for we are well able to overcome it." The scriptures say of him that, "because he had another spirit with him and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land ..." "But the men that went up with him ... saw the giants" and were defeated by their own confession of unbelief: "we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." (Num 13:30-33; 14:24)
Only to the degree that we recognize and lay hold of our true potential and authority in Christ Jesus can we experience victory over the enemy. It is "Christ in you (who is) the hope of glory." (Col 1:27) We can do nothing of ourselves. (John 5:19; 15:5) However, when we tap the resources of heaven "nothing is impossible" to us. (Mat 17:20) This belief is based not on presumption but on the soundness of eternal Reality. For "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: For the things which are seen are temporal (temporary), but hte things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corin 4:18)
Elisha's servant looked with fearful concern ont he armies that were approaching to fight against them. But Elisha knew that the hosts of heaven were prepared to battle on their behalf. "Fear not, "he said, "for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Both men were seeing the same situation. The difference in their outlook was that one saw through the eyes of the Spirit and the other merely by natural means. "And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire roundabout ..." (2 Kings 6;15-17)
'Now mine eye seeth thee'
If we ever hope to walk through this world victoriously -- unwavering an duntouched by the circumstances around us (for it is indeed a spiritual battleground and Satan, our enemy, is very real) -- we must learn to see God not only on the mountaintop but in our everyday experiences as well. At the end of his period of extreme testing, Job declared that before he "had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee." (Job 42:5) His insight into the character and the purposes of God had been extended beyond that of the natural senses, for he had learned to see God in the midst of severe trial. His understanding of hte Lord was based no on the experiences and testimonies of others, secondhand, but on a personal revelation of the Lord himself. Because he had allowed God to work in his life somethign of the divine character (Jas 5:10, 11), the scripture says of Job (and others like him) that they were "men of whom the world was not worthy." (Heb 11:38)
The range of our vision must be enlarged to perceive the purposes of God in and beyond our daily experiences. This is where the divinding line lies between the realm of shallow religious experience and knwing the depths of his great love.
© Copyright 1980 Diane S. Dew
All Rights Reserved
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