“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Wow! Now, have a think about this. God wants us to know him better. He wants us to know that we’ve been called to hope. He wants us to know that we have a glorious inheritance and incomparably great power simply because we believe in His Son. So, how do we get to know all of this? By having the eyes of our hearts enlightened. We have to learn how to see a whole lot differently than what we do now, and I’m not just talking about 3-D movies!
Behind Paul’s prayer is an assumption; our hearts are good. We can pray that prayer because God has made our hearts new, infused them with his Spirit and made our hearts his Holy of Holies. We are now called to see out of the eyes of our heart because that is how we see with the eyes of God.
I was thinking about an example of how this works this morning. I was struck by the universal temptation of lust and Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:27, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Ouch! My dad wasn’t a Christian so I was modelled “you can look but you better not touch.” Jesus’ words sure put the sword to that! Some religions deal with this by promoting blindness. Rabbi’s used to cover their eyes so they wouldn’t see women on the streets, and yes, they did crash into things! In Islam, we see Burqa’s and veils. In an attempt to be holy they have chosen blindness. Now admittedly, Jesus does say, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.” But he was clearly being ironic. Eyes don’t cause us to sin but our old hearts sure did and that was what Jesus diagnosed.
So how do we become holy then and measure up to this seemingly impossible standard that Jesus has set. We learn to see women (and men for you ladies out there who think you’re exempt!) with the eyes of God, with the eyes of our heart. That is we don’t see anyone as someone to possess, exploit, demean, dishonour or use for selfish purposes in any way. We do learn to see people as made in the image of God, with precious hearts, as beloved brothers and sisters of Christ himself, as people to love and not use. It is what John Eldredge calls “The utter relief of holiness.” We become the kind of people we are meant to be and want to be. Is it easy? No!
It’s not easy because learning to see with the eyes of the heart involves dying to old ways of seeing, dying to every bit of selfishness in us. Have you done that yet? Me neither, but like dead skin the layers are peeling off. I’m learning to see myself how God sees me; as his beloved son. When I see myself how God sees me then I can truly love others as I love myself. I can love others with God’s love because I see them as God sees them. I’m needing to at the moment. Some neighbourhood children have been coming over to play with ours and use their toys (I’m not sure what’s more important). These children are difficult. They are different in colour, situation, faith and attitude. Their parents are different and parent differently to me. And yet I must love and I can only love when the eyes of my heart have been opened.
Open our hearts Lord and open our eyes. We want to see Jesus. In ourselves, in others and in this fallen and broken world.
Thanks Cyn Rogalski for posting this picture on Facebook. That’s what we’re talking about.