“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light” (Luke 11:34-36 ESV).
I enjoy crime dramas. Unapologetically. I like exploring the crime scene through the eyes of the investigators, trying to solve the case before they do. My wife asked me once why they use flashlights when they are looking for clues. I thought for a moment and explained that I believe it’s because it narrows their focus. They are able to pick out small details when they are focused on a small area. If they had flood lights in the room the scene melts into obscurity.
I never really looked at Luke 11:34-36 closely before. In my rush to read all of the assigned chapters in my Bible reading plan I saw light and lamp and just lumped them in with all of the other verses about light.”Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalms 119:105 ESV). “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness” (John 8:12 ESV). “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14 ESV). “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light” (Luke 11:33 ESV).
The Word is the light. Jesus is the Light. We are the light.
But Luke 11:34-36 is not like any of those verses! When we switch on the kitchen lights, the bulbs, energized by electricity, illuminate the room. The source of the light is outside of the room. If it were the other way around, the room would be the lamp of the bulb!
Since our eyes are the lamps of our bodies, that means that we are receiving light into our bodies through our eyes from somewhere outside of ourselves. If our eyes are good, they let in light. Otherwise, our bodies are in darkness, since darkness is technically the absence of light.
Our eyes can only let into our bodies that upon which they are focused. This means, of course, that if we focus on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise…” (Philippians 4:8 ESV) we will be letting light into our bodies. And if we focus on things that distract us from God, we are allowing our bodies to fall into darkness.
As go the eyes, so goes the body. This is something we all learned when we were taught to drive. If you are looking somewhere other than where you want to go, you will drift off course.
We have our identity in Christ, but our lives will be defined by what we focus on. So, be careful where you look!