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The Key to Knowing the Truth
By David A. DePra
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Mat 6:22-24)
This passage of scripture is a key explanation as to how we might come to know the Truth – on any matter. According to Jesus, we must have a SINGLE EYE TO GOD. Note that if my, "eye is single," my entire body – or, if you will, my entire life – will be full of light. Well, LIGHT is Truth. Thus, a single eye unto the Lord is the relationship with Him – note that: a relationship with God -- that is necessary for the reception of LIGHT.
The opposite is likewise true. If my, "eye be evil," then my entire life, including my understanding of God, will be filled with darkness. An, "evil eye," is obviously the opposite of a, "single eye." It is a condition of heart that is not one with the purposes of God.
The important thing to understand from this passage is that my relationship with God – my motives and intents – determines my understanding about EVERYTHING ELSE. If my eye is single to God, then my entire life will be in HIS light. I will see and know the will of God on other matters. But if my eye is not single, then my understanding about all else will eventually be in darkness. I will not see the Truth about anything else. Thus, our heart towards God Himself determines whether we see the Truth on any matter.
Why is this so? Why does my heart condition unto the Lord determine how I see? Because Jesus Christ doesn’t merely give us a THING called, "light." "Light," is not merely INFORMATION. No. Jesus said, "I am the Light." In short, in order to see the light about any THING, we have to be rightly related to the LIGHT HIMSELF. We have to be ONE with THE LIGHT – or, as the Bible says, we have to, "walk in the Light as He is in the Light," in order to see Truth. Then, "in HIS light we see light."
Seeing the Truth is not possible unless we first know Jesus – who IS the Truth; who IS the Light. But we cannot know Jesus, let alone have His mind on any matter, unless our life is given over to Him. We have to lose ourselves to Him. Then we find true life in Him – included in which is light and Truth.
All of this sounds a bit mechanical. But we are here talking about a moral and spiritual relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Truth. Jesus is the Light. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found IN HIM. Thus, to the extent that my heart is ONE with Jesus, I will be able to see all things as they relate to Him. I will be able to more and more have HIS MIND on matters. Jesus Christ must be the portal through which we see all things – or we cannot see them according to the Truth. Thus, our eye – our heart – must be unconditionally committed to Him. Then our entire life will be in the LIGHT. And we will progressively see the Truth.
It is NOT possible to see the Truth merely through study. Oh, you can memorize Bible verses and academically and intellectually stockpile true facts into your brain. But to, "see the Truth," as the Bible defines it, is to SEE JESUS. And more than just give you facts, to see the Truth will MAKE YOU TRUE. It will set you free unto God. This is possible only if our heart is right with God, and stays right with God. Our eye must be single to Him.
If you read these words of Jesus, one thing becomes clear if nothing else does: I do NOT determine what Truth IS. No. Rather, I determine how I see and embrace the Truth. In the end, I am either going to take the Truth and shape it to fit myself, or I am going to allow God to show me the Truth and shape me to fit it – to fit Christ. These are the two options. And the condition of MY EYE is going to determine which will happen in my case.
The Single Eye
The fact that, "if you eye be single," you can see the Truth, is all through the Bible. Sometimes the words used are different, but the principle is the same. In the NT Greek language, the word for, "single," in this verse is amazing. It means, "to be free of folds." In other words, my heart and life must not be folded away from to God. Rather, I must be open and exposed to God, and seeking God.
This ought not to be a surprise. If I want LIGHT, I have to open to the Light. But you see, as long as we continue to think that Truth and Light are bits of information only, we won’t get this. Truth and Light are a Person. We are here talking about spiritual reality. Thus, if you want to receive Light, you must open YOURSELF to the Light. YOU must be exposed by coming into the Light. That is the only way you get Light. Yet it is the path to freedom.
If you picture your heart as an unfolded sheet of paper, and if you hold that sheet of paper up to a light, the light hits the entire surface of that paper. (For example’s sake, we will just deal with ONE side of our paper. Because there are no folds and no creases on the paper there is no part of it that is in darkness. If this pictures our heart, we see that if we are fully exposed to the Lord, without any part of us consciously folded away from Him, we SEE the Light – we see Jesus. But the side effect is that WE ARE MADE TRUE. This likewise enables us to see everything else in that same light. We are able to see the Truth about all else because we see God.
Jesus proclaimed the same Truth in His, "Sermon on the Mount." He said, "Blessed are the PURE in heart, for they shall SEE GOD." A single eye is an eye that is PURE – it is free of mixture and corruption as far as motives toward God. A pure heart is said to be pure because of its devotion and dedication to God and His will. This is the open window through which comes a knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the enablement, in HIS light, to see the Truth about all else.
James shares a similar Truth. He says, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." (James 4:8) A single eye, a single heart, a pure heart, a single-mindedness – all of these terms speaks of our heart relationship UNTO GOD. They speak of being OPEN to God – free of any other motives. This is the key to seeing Jesus Christ – the key to being MADE TRUE – and consequently, the key to seeing the Truth on everything else.
Now, obviously, anyone can say they have a single eye unto the Lord. Indeed, we can desire to have a single eye. And the good news is that we can turn to God in a second and open ourselves up to Him as much as we consciously know to do so. That is a necessary start. But from that point, God will, of necessity, PURIFY our heart. Our job is to KEEP open to God. God will do the rest. The apostle Peter tells us that this is a fundamental purpose of trials.
Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Pet 1:6-9)
Gold that is tried by fire is PURIFED. All of the impurities are brought to the surface so that what remains is PURE. This is what happens to us in a trial of faith – IF, that is, we yield to God and keep open to Him. You and I cannot purify ourselves because we haven’t the tools. But we can turn to the Lord with our hearts, just as they are. Then God will begin the work. The question, from that point, will be whether, when the LIGHT COMES we will remain open.
The Light of Life
There are other teachings in the Bible on this same matter. Perhaps the one that covers all of the bases the best, and gets to the root the most deeply, is found in Matthew 16:
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matt. 16:24-25)
At first glance, it may not seem that this passage has anything to do with LIGHT. But you can see that it has everything to do with LIFE. According to Jesus Christ, we can come into a greater and greater release of HIS LIFE IN US only if we pick up our Cross daily and follow Him. In short, if you want the fullness of the LIFE of Christ, you have to LOSE YOUR LIFE.
To, "lose your life," means to lose your self-ownership. It means to relinquish yourself fully into the hands of God. We do this by picking up the Cross that God puts into our lives – and then a death to this self ownership will take place over the course of time. What will be raised from that death is a greater realization of the LIFE OF CHRIST IN US. But within HIS LIFE is LIGHT. Sure. John says, "In Him was LIFE and that LIFE was the LIGHT of men." (John 1:4) The LIGHT is in the LIFE – because here we are talking not about THINGS, but a Person. Jesus is both life and light. If Christ is in us, then not only are we alive, but we have LIGHT in us.
The point is this: If our eye is single to the Lord, we will meet the Cross. We will pick it up and carry it. The result will be death to our self-rule. We will be raised with a greater release of His life within. But that will include LIGHT. The more Christ is formed within, the more we will SEE and KNOW Him. Included in LIFE is EVERYTHING – including LIGHT.
This is really all quite simple. Do you want to know God? Then you have to open yourself up and come to belong to Him. Do you want to know the Truth? Then you have to see Jesus. But you cannot see Jesus unless your eye is single to Him; unless your heart is pure unto God.
It is entirely possible to have great brain power, and to be able to intellectually grasp doctrinal concepts, and to even get them right, but to do all of this without seeing Jesus or learning Christ. But God wants more than this for us. He not only wants us to know true facts and doctrines, but He wants us to be MADE TRUE UNTO HIM. He wants us to have more than INFORMATION – He wants to give us REVELATION. In the end, all the knowledge and information we acquire won’t mean a thing if our heart is not single unto the Lord. Simply knowing the teaching that tells us to pick up our Cross won’t do us any good unless we actually pick it up.
Before we congratulate ourselves for having a single eye unto the Lord, we ought to realize that the normal Christian life is one where God is continually trying to purify our hearts. We must not only desire a single eye, but we must actually have it – in the individual circumstances of life. Are we allowing God to open us up to Him? Are we allowing Him to shape us to fit JESUS – to shape us to fit the Truth – no matter what the cost? Are we allowing God to MAKE US TRUE – which will necessitate the light showing us where we have been UNTRUE to Him? If we think that all that this means is that we make some minor doctrinal adjustments, or that we add on a few Bible facts to our database of knowledge, we are deceived. What we are talking about here is a matter of LOSING our lives to God. We are talking about being reduced to nothing so that we can see that Christ is everything – that IS the Truth – are we willing to experience this? Or are we content to simply hold it as a teaching? We are talking about being exposed, and then being set free. We are talking about becoming adjusted to, and made fit for, God Himself.
Paul brought this home in his epistle to the Romans:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:1-2)
How do we come to know God – to PROVE His will? By giving ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice. By losing ourselves to Him. This again is a single eye. It is a matter of becoming ONE with Him in His purposes in Christ. Not just overall, but daily.
This agrees with the passage from Matthew 6, where Jesus simply tells us to have a single eye unto God. If we have that, just as we are, right where we are, then LIGHT WILL COME – and this LIGHT will begin to open us up for more LIGHT. We will not only begin to LEARN CHRIST, but will be MADE TRUE to God. And we will see the Truth progressively on other matters.
An Evil Eye
An EVIL EYE is one whose interests are DIVIDED between God’s interests, and OURS. But if you think about that, this does not mean that an evil eye is one where a person is openly rebellious against God. No. You can be very religious with an evil eye. All that is required for an evil eye – in the long run – is that you try to get God to do YOUR will. And your will might not be itself evil or sinful. It might be legitimate. But you are not surrendered to God. You have not LOST your life and will to HIM. In short, an evil eye is the product of belonging to myself. And if that is the case, my entire life will be in the dark.
We have already read the passage in which Jesus tells us to LOSE our lives in order to FIND true life in Him. But rather than LOSE their lives to God, many Christian people are trying to SAVE them for themselves – and they are trying to get God to HELP THEM. Some of us continually struggle with the Lord and are always having a bad time. Much of this is ignorance, but there is a big danger here that one could develop an evil eye. We need to realize that God has already told us to relinquish everything about ourselves into His hands – for a death. There is simply no other Truth He has to offer us on this matter.
Failure to do this is one of the reasons why certain people, especially false teachers, are in error. Their eye is not single to God. So their understanding on doctrinal matters, and as to who God is and what He is like, is in darkness. It is natural to just look at the teaching and say it is wrong or untrue. But the real problem is that THEY ARE UNTRUE. It all goes back to their heart towards God.
Don’t misunderstand. There is such a thing as IGNORANCE. Real ignorance is the inability to know Truth because I have yet to receive light. True ignorance is possible even if you have a SINGLE EYE. We do need TIME to grow and learn Christ. But if I am truly ignorant, then I can still have an eye that is single to God. This will insure that my ignorance will be eventually exposed to His light, and I will know the Truth.
But while IGNORANCE is the inability to know Truth because I have yet to receive light, an evil eye is the REFUSAL to know Truth – because of a divided heart. But this REFUSAL is not necessarily a DIRECT one. It is usually an INDIRECT refusal of the Truth. I can refuse or neglect the Truth by trying to drag God into MY purposes. I can neglect the Truth by convincing myself that God must surely want to do what I want Him to do. All that is necessary for refusing the Truth is to neglect the Cross. Simply refuse to lose your life on a specific matter – rationalize it that way – and you cannot find His life or light. You won’t see the Truth.
If you again read the passage from Matthew 6, Jesus says something very interesting. He says that if your eye is evil your whole body will be filled with darkness. But then He says, "If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" What does that mean? It means that if we persist with an double-mindedness, and persist with trying to get our own way – even with God – that we risk the possibility of complete deception. We could get to the point where the darkness in which we are living is, to us, LIGHT. In other words, we will believe lies are the Truth. We will think all is well. But we will be totally deceived.
Note again that this possibility is not the outcome of mere ignorance, or of misinterpreting Bible verses. No. It is the outcome of an evil eye – of being folded up away from God in my heart. Again, if I don’t expose myself to the Light Himself I cannot see the Light. Darkness is the only alternative.
Of course, no one today cares about any of this. Today, in most churches, the most people will talk about as important is doctrine – and even THAT talk is fading away. People don’t consider their accountability before the Lord. They don’t know His purpose. And about the last thing that is taught and emphasized is the personal work of the Cross. No wonder there is such darkness.
Even discernment on matters we encounter in the Christian walk is affected by the condition of our, "eye." Again – if you EYE is not single, your WHOLE BODY is full of darkness. Error on what seems to be an unrelated issue can be taken back to the condition of the heart before God. Because I am not right with Him, I cannot see the Truth – and this will apply to so much.
For example, there are folks who make terrible decisions of discernment and judgment. But for some of these people, the root problem is that they are not right with God. Their eye is NOT single. Thus, they cannot see the Truth about the issue or doctrine over which they are choosing. Of course, this isn’t the cause of all such error. But it certainly is the cause of much of it.
If I am not right with God I am not TRUE TO HIM. This, in turn, makes it impossible for me to see the Truth. I cannot see it. And this will affect everything to one degree or another.
Can we see what is going on here? Jesus’ teaching about a single eye verses an evil eye is nothing more than another way of contrasting being TRUE to God vs. being UNTRUE to Him. And at the foundation of it is whether we have lost our lives into His hands so that we might find them in Christ. This, in turn, determines whether we can SEE.
The good news is that Jesus has promised to lead us into all Truth. He did not promised to force it upon us. But He did promise to take the initiative. As we are seeing, this does not necessarily begin with a degree in theology. Rather, it begins by being rightly related to God – by picking up our Cross. By allowing God to bring us to where our eye is single and pure unto Him and His purposes.
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