Guard the eye of your heart

Opening Prayer Thoughts. 
Praise God
Praise God that he is a personal God who deals with us personally. That he loves us and gave his only Son, so that we might be redeemed and adopted as his children. Praise God for life as a child of God.
Acknowledge Sin
Confess the sin of not always thinking and living as a child of God. Pray for God's help to do so thoughtfully.

Please read Luke 11:33-36            Guard the eye of your heart.
Seek the help of the Holy Spirit as you turn to read his Word. 
One of the commentators I am using as an aid in this study writes the following about this passage, "This entire passage (33-36) nonplusses the commentators, and their entire efforts at interpretation are laboured and unconvincing." So, you know, this passage excites me, and I hope that what I will share with you is not laboured, and that, by God's grace, it will be of help, even if the passage is not straightforward.
Jesus speaks of 'light', the first thing that he participated in the creation of, Genesis 1:3. But he does so in a typically simple way. We need to take care not to confuse simple with simplistic. There is nothing simplistic about what Jesus is going to teach. It is extremely profound and speaks of the gravest danger to our life. 
The thought he presents is obvious. No one lights a lamp and then puts it somewhere where its entire purpose is nullified. The idea of lighting a lamp, putting it in a cellar, a seldom-used basement, and then returning upstairs to go about the day's affairs, is not something you would do. Nor would you light a lamp when the sun has gone down and then cover it with something so that no light emanates from it. If you were in a home and you saw someone doing that, you would look at them, shake your head in bemusement, and say to yourself, "did he actually do what I think he did?" 
The eye, what an amazing sensory organ in the body. Its sole function is to react to light and allow us to see. There is no other way for light to penetrate into our bodies than through our eyes. We look at an eye, and we see the front of a white 'ball', which appears oval-shaped because of the flesh enclosing it. Then we see a coloured 'ball' in the middle of the white ball, and within that coloured ball, there is another smaller black 'ball'. If you look closely enough, you can see some of the tiny veins supplying blood to the organ, and that is about it, isn't it? Not really, I am obviously not an ophthalmologist, but I can do a google search, and google search tells me that there 30 different parts to the human eye. It is fascinating to read about the structure and functioning, including the field of view, dynamic range, movement, reflexes, etc., of this extraordinary little organ that affects our daily lives so much. Five or six years ago, I was beginning to notice that my eyesight was deteriorating and went to the optician. The issue? Cataracts in both eyes. Two straightforward surgical procedures and my life was changed. Reading was no longer a burden, and I was able to drive again. I had stopped driving for a few months because I was afraid I might have an accident. We take our eyes, our ability to see, (and I am conscious as I write that one of our members has very limited sight) so much for granted. When they react to light as they are designed to do, our whole-body benefits; when they do not, for whatever reason, it does restrict and impair our lives.  
So why does Jesus speak about the eye? Because he is addressing the issue of the proper use of the light in our lives. We have been set free from the bondage of sin for a purpose – to live for the glory of God. You don't take a light and hide it. If you do, it will lose its purpose. If you close your eyes, you won't be able to see. Your eyes, effectively, lose their purpose. Here is the issue Jesus is driving at – how does spiritual light penetrate your life? It is through the heart. Not the physical heart, but through our 'being'. When your soul is healthy, everything about you will be full of light, but when it is in a 'bad' place, the opposite is true. Jesus addressing the issue of outward religiosity says in Matthew 15:18, "what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander." The connection is simple, good heart – a good life, bad heart – a bad life. 
You may have the light in you, but if your heart is actively engaging in the fleeting and destructive 'pleasures' of sin, then you are living in the seldom-entered basement; your life has a huge basket over it. The light is not emanating from you because your heart is bound in darkness. And the fact is, you know it. You know when you are in the seldom-used basement; you know when you are covered by the basket because you're not happy about it. It is grinding at you. You are beset with a sense of shame and guilt. 
The question is, how do you prevent this happening or, if it does happen, how do get the lamp out of the cellar, out from under the basket and up onto a stand, where it should be, so that it can fulfil its purpose for existing? It is simple; you have to address what is getting into your life through the 'eye' of your heart. If you work at getting the light into your heart, and that takes deliberate, intentional activity, just as you are doing at this very moment, then your whole body, your life will be "full of light, having no part dark… as when a lamp with its rays gives you light." 
I urge you to please keep taking the Word of God into your heart. It is the eye of your life. It is the only organ that allows light into your life, and when the light of God's Word is flowing into your heart, then your life will fulfil the purpose for which God created it. All seasons of sin, darkness, covering over of light, can be traced back to one source, the closing of the heart in some measure to the light of God's Word. It is extremely difficult to spend time in the light of Scripture, to seek with diligence and delight the statutes of the Lord, and to engage in a season of sinful activity all at the same time. I would go as far as to say it is nigh on impossible. And the opposite is true. Fail to expose your heart to the light of God's Word, and sin will find a fertile resting place to scatter its seeds of destruction. I share this solely as a cautionary example. A number of years ago, I was at a ministers’ conference where a well-known minister was speaking. I had gone with a measure of anticipation, but it turned out to be one of the most discouraging conferences I have attended. I remember thinking and, in fact saying to a few of the men present, that I could have saved myself time and money if we had been sent a short book list to read, because all we got for three of the four addresses were lengthy quotes from a few writers. It was a dry, arid experience. Within a couple of years, the speaker took his own life out of guilt because of inappropriate relationships he was having with some of the women in his congregation. Proverbs 4:23, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."
Psalm 119 
1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!
 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
 3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
 4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
 5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
 6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
 7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. 
 8 I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.
 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
 12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!
 13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
 14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
 15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
 16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

A Psalm to Sing.
Psalm 73C - Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.

Memory Verse.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word. 
Matthew 6:9-11
"Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,"

Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 83 - Are all transgressions of the law equally sinful?
Answer - Some sins, because of their nature and the circumstances, are more sinful in the sight of God than others.
This is taken from where you will find proof texts.

Thank God.
Thank God for the blessing of a regenerate heart and a renewed mind. Thank God for his clear commands to guard our hearts. 
Thank God for giving us his Word, that we can use it to guard our hearts. Pray that God would give us an increasing desire to know and delight in him through his Word, so that we would forsake all other gods in our life.

Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC