“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” – Matthew 6:22-23
My Saturday morning Bible-study group is looking at the broad topic of “Giving.” It’s difficult to wrap our heads around such an idea unless we’re already thinking about the relationship we have to stuff. Or, more specifically, “My Stuff.”
Consequently, most of our conversation today moved around Matthew 6:19-24, the passage sampled above.
What’s interesting to me is how these studies are fresh, imaginative, insightful, and new every time. The scripture is alive; it is an interactive text; it reveals God in innovative ways each time we open the pages and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us.
God – the initiating, animating, sustaining life-force of creation – speaks through the words written in the scriptures; the Bible is the record of the story of God reconciling the creation to the Creator; Jesus is the Logos, the Living Word, God made flesh; the Holy Spirit breathes visceral, contemporary, cogent life into our reading, our conversation, our understanding, and our application.
ALIVE! Interpretations that are fixed, rigid – indelibly inscribed in permanent marker, plastered on web pages in obnoxious 48-point bold-faced ALL-CAP ARIAL FONT, chiseled into granite, infused into some Kool-Aid-esque concoction, and force-fed to followers – typically misunderstand (or misrepresent) the meaning of “authoritative.”
God is the authority still writing the word on our hearts, and speaking new life and fresh insight into our day-to-day; the God story is still unfolding.
I can’t adequately describe how exciting it is to me to be engaged in Bible-study with these men, and with the guys I hang out with on Wednesday evenings, and also with my “Practical Christianity” discipleship class on Sunday mornings.
Additionally, I am blessed to have the opportunity to meet with many disciples one-on-one – over lunch, or coffee – to talk about their growing hunger for God, and for a deeper understanding of the scriptures.
LIGHT: This morning, talking about Christ’s observation that, “if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is,” we wondered if he was talking about the problem of rigid adherence to The Law, or rigid adherence to some people’s interpretation of God’s words.
If legalism is our ultimate reference point when it comes to a life of faith, then the light we think we have is actually darkness. That was certainly the case for the audience the Great Teacher was addressing there on the hillside in Galilee. Instead, Jesus invites us to see clearly, to invite love into the core of who we are, and to fill our entire selves with the light of self-giving, unconditional love.
“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”
As always, I find myself challenged by my ongoing interaction with the scriptures, by the God who infuses the words with his kind of authority, by my deepening relationship with Jesus, and by the life-charged fellowship I enjoy with the Body of Christ,
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” – Psalm 139:23-24
– more pics from Galilee (not all watermarked, but all by Derek Maul):
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.