Luke 11:33-36, ESV
33 “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. 34 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. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 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.”
One of my favorite stories that my Dad used to tell was the about the first time he took my mom home to meet my grandparents. My Dad was from the coal mining communities of West Virginia and the trip home included traveling through some pretty rural mountainous areas. The way my Dad told it was that it was night time when they started winding their way through the mountains and at some point they could see a small shack tucked up in the hills ahead of them with a single light bulb burning dimly. I still can see my Dad’s grin as he retold this story. He said he pointed at the shack and said “Ah great, momma left the light on for us!”. I think he let my Mom stew in that for a few minutes before he let her know its wasn’t their destination. I’m not real sure that this story applies to the verses today, but meditating on Jesus’ teaching about light made me think of the shack story and gave me pause to remember my old man.
In today’s verses Jesus is teaching us about our Christian experience using light as an analogy. He breaks the teaching into two parts. First, He describes what we should do with the light we have in us and second, He exhorts us to keep the light that is in us pure. Let’s look at each briefly.
Luke 11:33, ESV
33 “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
In this verse, Jesus is teaching us that once we were converted something fundamentally changed in us. We have become different because God has called us to fellowship and commune with Him through the salvation of Jesus Christ. We are no longer like everyone else, no longer destined to suffer God’s wrath because of our rebellion, but rather we are set apart, adopted by God and given citizenship in God’s eternal Kingdom. What an awesome reality that is. Jesus challenges us in this verse to reflect that reality to a world that is looking on. Ultimately, Jesus is the light and as his disciples we should be reflecting the image of our teacher. The implication is that when people look at us and our lives, ideally they should be able to see Jesus on some level.
Luke 11:34-36, ESV
34 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. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 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.”
At first reading I wondered why these verses came after the first one. These verses encourage us to make sure that the light that is in us is light opposed to darkness. It seems to me that making sure the light in you is light would precede letting your light shine, however reflecting on this I realize that regardless of whether the light that is in you is light or darkness it will be exposed either way. I think Jesus is reminding us here that after conversion there is a still a battle that occurs between the new life of the Spirit and the old life of the flesh. These verses give a good practical teaching on how we subdue the flesh and fill our being with the pure light of God. The teaching here is that our eyes have the ability to fill our inner being with either light or darkness. I think Jesus challenges use to inventory what we consume with our eyes. Do we fill our eyes with scripture, wholesome media, God made nature, and the company of friends and family, or do we fill our eyes with pornography, corrupt media, items we covet, and second lustful glances? I would submit that there is no greater conduit to our inner being that our eyes. We have to guard them.
So what’s the application? For me, I have to realize that Jesus is teaching us fundamental truths here. We have to constantly remind ourselves that even after conversion we are in a battle with the old life of rebellion that put us at odds and out of fellowship with God in the first place. The reality is that we have died to our sinful nature because of our rebirth in Christ, but our sinful nature is not yet dead and won’t be until our physical death ends its rebellion. That sinful nature, the flesh, is the seed of our temptations and the receptacle for the all darkness we take in. So we must guard our eyes and our minds and our bodies so that we don’t give the flesh an opportunity to taint the light in us. It starts simply by thinking about what we consume visually. I know I struggle in this area. Lets pray for each other that our as our lights shine Jesus and His Kingdom will be reflected not the darkness of this world.
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for life and salvation. Thank you God that we are not left to dwell in darkness but because of your grace we are able to be called your sons and daughters. Help us with temptation today. Help us lay waste to the old life of the flesh that desires to entice us with darkness. Forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Work in us today to reflect your glory and illuminate your Kingdom. We offer prayers in Jesus name. Amen.