One of the greatest travesties of modern-day Christianity and the church is we stop just short of knowing God.
We’ve created centers of learning about God that we call church.
We talk a lot about what we “think” God is like.
We strain out gnats and swallow camels.
It’s academic and not personal.
But unless God is real, we’re merely like every other religion -just another philosophy.
But God is an actual person who can be known and with whom a real relationship can be had!
My prayer of late has been how to truly know and experience God, and usher others into that.
Then, I saw something I’d not really seen before -something that I may have understood conceptually in my head but that’s now burning on my heart.
Consider 2 Corinthians 4:6:
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
—2 Corinthians 4:6
Now, juxtapose that against Matthew 6:23:
“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
The Apostle Paul did not just say, “God commanded light to shine out of darkness” else we would think of this “light” in terms of what we can see visually, but he continued “WHO HAS SHONE IN OUR HEARTS to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Now, compare that to Matthew 6:22-23,
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
Now, consider the immediately preceding pericope of Scripture in Matthew 6:19-21,
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also.”
Ok. What am I getting at?
Those who have been born again do not “see” with their iris and pupils but with their hearts.
When Paul writes, “[God] has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” it should be apparent that we cannot perceive wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation (light) with the organ that pumps blood (heart).
So by “heart”, Paul is referring to a spiritual organ -the core of our spiritual being, and by “light”, he is referring to the life giving power that comes from God.
What Paul is essentially saying is the heart is the eye. It is the sensory organ by which we have any sensitivity to the spiritual dimension and that gives us the ability to perceive God.
The Matthew passages makes a contrast between a good eye and a bad eye -a good eye filling the body with “light” (life) and a bad eye filling the body with great darkness (not life).
I would argue that the “good eye” is a spiritual heart made alive in the new birth by faith through grace. And, the “bad eye” is the natural perception obtained through bodily sensory organs, experience and earthly ideation, which leaves the heart dead, hard and stony with no capacity to sense, know or experience God.
I believe Jesus provides a test in Matthew 6:19-21 so that we can know which “eye” we have: WHAT WE TREASURE.
The bad eye treasures “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” (e.g. things material and that are dependent of the material: money, possessions, status, etc.)
The good eye treasures “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (e.g. spiritual things independent of material things: virtue, fruit of the spirit, Isaiah 58:5-8).
Because, what we treasure, as Matthew 6:21 concludes, “There your heart will be also.”
Everything God commands is good and for our good. So when Jesus says “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” in Luke 14:33, He is not merely putting forward the price of discipleship, Jesus is giving us the prescription for nurturing a heart that can sense, know and experience God.
We can do more than “know about” God.
We can know God.
We can sense and experience God!
I want that more than anything.
And, our “heart” -the one that God gives, is our “eye” which gives us the ability to perceive, know and experience (be with) God.
Get that heart (humble yourself, repent, seek diligently for it).
And, guard it.
Thank You, God, Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ for answering my prayer. Not that I have attained, but that You lead me in the paths of righteousness that I may fully attain it, and, above all, that You are with me.
Thank You for teaching me to close my eyes and see through the eye of the heart You gave me so I can perceive, know and experience You.
#KnowGod #KnowingGod #gospel