Luke 11:34-35, “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.”
This morning, our society drives completely by “feel.” To modern day man’s way of thinking, “If it feels good, do it. If it feels bad, don’t.” Now, feelings do matter in this world – they are for our benefit – but they are not the overriding and overarching precepts by which we conduct our lifestyle. Rather, Godly feelings corroborate what we know to be right and proper from the standard: Bible. The reasons that feelings themselves cannot be the governing standard by which our lives are led are numerous, but one of the reasons (which we hope to examine in more detail) is the fact that children of God have polarized sets of feelings. Since the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh (Galatians 5:17), children of God’s actions feel differently between the old and new nature. When righteousness is exalted, the flesh abhors it, while the spirit delights in it. Likewise, the flesh delights in unrighteousness, while the spirit abhors it. This complexity of feeling makes it impossible for the feelings themselves to be the standard by which something is judged.
Jesus, in our verses, compares light with its manifestations to actions in the lives of people. The verse previous to ours depicts our lives as those that should be set on a candlestick rather than hidden under a bushel. Our lives are meant to be lived in such a fashion that they redound to the glory of God. (Matthew 5:17) So, Christ uses the example of light to show forth this principle. Yet, the manifestation of that light depicts the corroborated feelings that an individual experiences as a result of that lifestyle. Let us dig into these words just a little to pull back the fabric of these verses and see the plainness of the teaching, even amidst the complexities of the individuals being discussed.
The first point that Christ introduces in these verses is the importance of the eyes. They are the light of the body. In other words, things begin with the eye that will emanate to the rest of the person. If we study the word employed for “light” in verse 34, we notice that its primary root stems from a thought of brilliancy and white purity. Studying the definitions of this word (Greek word: lychnos, root: leukos – taken from www.blueletterbible.com), the foremost application is the light of brilliancy and glistering whiteness that applies to the garments worn by angels and the glory of God Himself. What our eyes should take in should be of the purest form of Godliness that emulates the refulgent glory of God and clothes His celestial servants while they do His bidding.
Christ further strengthens this point by saying that should this type of light be taken in, there will be a “single” aspect to it. This word “single” quite often is used in our modern day vernacular is “singular.” Whenever someone is said to be singular minded, have a singular thought, etc., two things are generally meant by such statements. The first thing that is meant is that they are driven primarily and completely by one thing and one thing only. In a negative sense, someone might say that an alcoholic is singularly driven by alcohol – to the expense of anything else. The other thought that generally emanates from those statements is that the particular thing that drives these people (whether work, hobbies, or otherwise) “completes” them in some way. By engaging in the particular singular thrust, they feel liberated and complete while pursuing after that particular thing.
Christ displays that having light of a refulgent fashion enter the body, we should feel not only singularly driven but also complete by the glory of God. When we feel the light of His goodness, the completeness that we have in His Son (Colossians 2:10) should swell within our soul. By feeling complete with that singular affection interwoven throughout our person, what is the logical result? The logical result is Christ’s next statement.
When singular affection stemming from light of a Godly sort hits us, the whole body is full of light. Now, as we have already mentioned above, the flesh abhors the things of God, for the body is still a body of death even after regeneration until the resurrection. (Romans 7:25-27) So, how would light fill the entire body if the body detests it? The second appearance of the word “light” in this verse comes from a different word than the other. This word “light” (Greek word: photeinos, root: phos – taken from www.blueletterbible.com) has reference to natural manifestations of light. Materials like phosphorous – used to make light – are so named from these Greek words. Rather, than saying that Godly light radiates through a sinful body that changes it to be Godly itself, Christ shows forth the glorious aspect of sinful flesh being veiled by the Godly conduct of His people.
Have you ever known someone whose actions radiated above and beyond their physical appearance? When I was a young boy growing up in the church, my longest-lasting thoughts and impressions about the dear saints in the church was not what they looked like physically. Rather, it was their demeanor that most stuck with me. In fact, should I have been given a test on physical qualities on those in the church, I would probably have failed the examination. Christ here declares that light can manifestly be filled within the person to such a degree that others “stand up and notice.” As the joy of Godliness swells the soul, it cannot make the flesh desire the righteousness any more than the flesh can cause the spirit to enjoy sin, but the swelling of the soul can push down and mortify the deeds of the flesh (Colossians 3:5) to the point where people see the light filling the body rather than the darkness of the old flesh.
When people live by faith, take in the Godly refulgence found in His word, prayer, study, meditation, worship in His house, fellowship with His saints, etc, those things should radiate and fill the body. In so doing, a distinct impression will be stamped on the individuals that even natural men can see. A natural man (void of the spirit of God) does notice when someone does not curse, exalts joy in the midst of trials, and seems up while everyone else is down. While he will never understand the “point” of those things, he will notice. However, more important than that, other sin-sick souls burdened by their faults (i.e. ignorant but regenerated children of God) will also notice the emanation of light surrounding people living by faith. Who knows whether our actions will impress them to “Come and see” where it is and what it is that we delight in to such a degree?
Logically, Christ also gives us the opposite to this scenario. When our eye takes in the things it should not, the body is emanated (filled) with darkness, and verse 35 “seems” to show a contradiction. In verse 35, light is equated with darkness. Christ’s very own words display that light can be darkness. The word “light” in verse 35 again comes from the Greek word “phos” having reference to perception and manifestation. In other words, this light simply manifests the dark things that our eyes are indulging into.
Just as the child of God is capable to take in the good things that emanate into manifestations of joy and peace, so the child of God may also take in the evil things of the world that emanate into the manifestations of misery and destruction. (Proverbs 14:12) This complexity (capability to do either one) is one of the reasons that “feelings” are impossible for a standard. Which feeling is it? The emanation of light that comes from singularity of Godliness or the emanation of darkness from the light of ungodliness?
Some part of us desires what we do, while another part desires what we do not. These are contrary; the natures are opposite. Yet, their manifestation is guaranteed. Things our eyes see will affect our lifestyles. Be they things good or bad, they will most certainly affect our actions that men see and perceive in us to be. May our eyes take in the light that promotes the light filling the body rather than the light that opens the door to the invasion of darkness. By so doing, people will see the light (God’s work shining forth) rather that the old clod surrounding it. By focusing on the light and missing the clod, they will glorify our Father rather than we ourselves.