The Good News - Home

Singleness of Heart

by David A. DePra

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and

rust corrupts, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay

up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust

corrupts, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For

where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 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, your whole body

shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee 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. Ye cannot serve God

and mammon. (Matt. 6:19-24)

     When Jesus uses terms like "if your eye be evil," and "your whole
body shall be full of darkness," you would think it would get our
attention.  But most of us never stop to consider what Jesus is
talking about in passages such as this one from Matthew 6.  We
might as well put it in a book entitled, "Scriptures That Apply To
Everyone Else But Me."  
     Jesus is here drawing a contrast between "an eye that is single,"
and "an eye that is evil."  And He is saying that depending on which
KIND of eye we have, it will affect our entire body -- our entire LIFE.
This is important stuff and each of us needs to understand it.

A Single Eye

     The key phrase in this passage is "if therefore your eye be

single." This phrase stands in contrast to the next sentence, "But

if your eye be evil."

     The translation of this passage, and of the word "single" may be

a bit confusing. The word translated, "single" is HAPLOUS. It

means, "singleness, as opposed to divided; purity; simplicity." This

word is talking about having ONE, and only ONE, focus. It is talking

about a single, undivided, and unpolluted goal. In this passage,

and others like it, this goal is a MORAL goal: The will of God.

HAPLOUS speaks of "simplicity," in that there is no confusion or

debate -- but a firm resolve and choice. There is a unity within my

heart, as opposed to being divided as to my motives and faith. In

effect, HAPLOUS leaves no room for "sitting on the fence." My

"eye," indeed, my "heart" is "single" -- HAPLOUS -- when my

intention is to discover, and then DO, the will of God.

     Of course, the eye of which Jesus speaks is our MORAL eye.

Whatever our MORAL eye is focused upon is our goal and intent.

That is why we are focused upon it. But don't think of this as merely

observing or seeing things. We can see and observe many things

which we never make our goal. It is when we choose to make what

we see our focus and desire that it can be said that our eye is

morally focused upon it.


     Notice the consequences which Jesus gives, first, for having an

eye which is "single" for God's will: Our whole body will be full of

light. In other words, our motive and intent will filter into our living.

But more than that, it causes us to eventually BECOME. When our

whole body is filled with light, then our whole body has BECOME

adjusted and altered by that light. This is nothing more than a way

of describing Christian character. Christian character occurs when

my body becomes full of light through the power of my choice to

have a single eye for God's will.

     The opposite happens if my "eye be evil." If my eye is evil, that

is, if I want my will rather than the will of God, then my whole body

eventually becomes "full of darkness." My life and my character

bear the characteristics of my choice to reject the will of God in

favor of my own. I BECOME in accordance with my choices.

     Then Jesus makes an ironic statement -- one which is really a

play on words. He says, "If the light in you be darkness, how great

is that darkness!" How can the "light in you BE darkness?" Light

isn't darkness. What does Jesus mean?

     Jesus is talking about the terrible condition of being so deceived

that you think that the darkness in you IS light. That is why He says

of this condition, "how great is that darkness!" This is a person who

has chosen his own will over the will of God, and has done it

repeatedly. He has refused to repent of it. He is now so much in

the dark that, to him, it is normal. He eyes have become so

adjusted to the dark that he now thinks it is light.

     Do you see that? Just as my physical eyes become adjusted to

the light, or to the darkness, so do my moral eyes. The more I focus

on the Truth and light of God, the more my moral eyes will become

adjusted to it, and it will become normal for me. But the more I

choose to walk in my own will, the more my moral eyes will become

adjusted to this darkness. It will become normal to me. Perhaps I

will eventually be so hardened in my own way, and so completely

self-justified, that I will think that the darkness in me is light!

     In the final analysis, there is a terrible consequence for choosing

my own will over the will of God. And it is not necessary that God will

come down and "punish" me. What is that consequence? Well, the

penalty for choosing my own will is that I will get my own will! THAT

will be my "punishment." That will be God's judgment upon me. It

is a just and moral judgment. I get exactly what I chose -- and all the

fruit therefore. I will reap what I sow.

The Basic Moral Issue

     Now the incredible part of all of this is that Jesus actually give us,

in this passage from Matthew, the fundamental issue over which all

of these moral choices revolve. He actually tells us specifically

what it means to have an "eye which is single," or an "eye which is

evil." Read the passage again. It is inescapable. The issue over

which we must choose is stated two ways, but it is the SAME issue:

Who do we serve? God or mammon? Where is our heart? In

heaven or on earth? In other words, do we want OUR will, or the

will of GOD?

     If we want to walk with Jesus Christ we are going to find that the

lukewarm, watered-down, morally bankrupt Christianity which many

of us practice will not do. The more we walk with Christ, the brighter

the light becomes. Thus, the clearer the choices become. And

make no question, we are going to have to choose one way or

another. We may think we can put it off or avoid it altogether. But

we cannot. We must choose: God or mammon. Heaven or earth.

God's will or our will.

     Right now, our "eye" is focused on one or the other: Our will or the

will of God. Sure, we may occasionally glance back and forth

between the two. But we will eventually focus fully on one. God will

see to it that we do.

     As human beings, we like to push away moral choices. We are

wishy-washy. But God is not. The Holy Spirit will convict and push

us to the point of choice. So the question is not WHETHER we will

choose. We WILL choose. In fact, if we would just wake up, we

would see that we ARE choosing, right now. We are slowing

focusing our moral eye on one or the other: God or mammon. This

life or the next. Our will or God's will.


     When Jesus talks about our eye being single, He is, of course,

talking about FAITH. Faith focuses and desires God's will. But

faith also embraces God's will. Faith is, in fact, the motivation which

is supposed to direct our living.

     We often redefine faith. Today it means "to believe something

is true." Well, certainly that is a start. But even the Devil believes

that the Truth is the Truth. Otherwise, he would not be able to try to

deceive. Thus, faith must be MORE than believing the Truth is the

Truth. Faith must include desiring the Truth and embracing the


     So perhaps we could say that when my eye is "single" my faith

is in God. When my eye is evil, it is not in God, but in something

else. Faith carries the motivation and desire for God's will, as

opposed to my own. And if I am walking by real faith, it will result

in my "whole body" being full of light. In other words, my faith will

result in a changed life. It will result in good works.

How to Know God's Will

     Most of us probably think that we must first know the will of God

before we can focus upon it. But we have it backwards. We must

first focus upon God's will, and then -- and only then -- will we know it.

     Why? Because to be focused upon the will of God is to be

focused upon God Himself. If my "eye be single" I will be looking

to God for His will even BEFORE I know it specifically. Then,

BECAUSE I'm focused, I'll come to know what His will is for me.

     There are many ways to say this same thing. I must first

surrender to God -- then I will discover His will. I must first desire the

will of God -- then I will be able to know it. My eye must be single

in wanting to know and do the will of God. Then I will come to see

His will, and more importantly, I'll come to be filled with His will.

Once again we see FAITH. Faith is a moral surrender to God.

     And it is through this moral surrender that I am in fit condition to be

able to see the will of God. I cannot see the will of God unless I am

looking at it through the eyes of faith. I cannot see the will of God

unless I am looking at it through the eyes of a surrender to Him.

     This is a Truth found everywhere in the Bible. One of the best

places is found in John 7:

If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be

of God, or whether I speak of myself. He htat speaks of Himself

seeks his own glory: but he that seeks his glory that sent him, the

same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. (Jn. 7:17-18)

     Here Jesus says that the way to "know of the doctrine" is to be

willing to "do His will." If I am surrendered to God, and willing to do

whatever He desires, then that condition of surrender will enable me

to know God's will. I will be able to discern whether something is of

God, or of myself, or of someone else.

     Again, MORAL condition equals discernment. If I have a eye

which is single unto God's will, I'll be able to see God's will. But if I

have an eye which is not single, my vision of God's will shall be, at

best, distorted. I may even be completely blind to it.

Another good place is found in Romans 12:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you

present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,

which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this

world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you

may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of

God. (Rom. 12:1-2)

     If we ever wanted a more clear way to discover the will of God,

we could not find it. Paul tells us to "present our bodies a living

sacrifice." In other words, we must unconditionally surrender to God.

     This is a matter of faith. It is a heart attitude even before we do a

thing. It is what it means to have an eye which is SINGLE. Then, out

of that, we must stop being conformed to this world. Rather, Paul

says, "be transformed." How? By the renewing of our minds. In

effect, Paul says that if we unconditionally surrender our whole

selves to God, that through that faith and surrender, our minds will

be renewed. And because they are renewed, we will be able to

know the "good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."

     Note again the key: The unconditional surrender. Presenting

ourselves as a living sacrifice. Being willing to do His will. Having

an eye which is single and focused on the will of God. That is the

way to know the will of God.

     The only way to know the will of God is to surrender to Him. The

moment I surrender to the will of God, I am surrendered to the mind

of God. And if I am surrendered to the mind of God, my mind will

become renewed by His mind. I will then know His mind, and

therefore know His will.

     There is one more place we can look at. This is a negative

example which is found in the book of Hebrews:

Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Heb, 3:15)

     Clearly, if God says "IF you will hear His voice, then harden NOT

your heart," then the opposite must be true: "If you do NOT harden

your heart, then you WILL hear His voice." Again, the condition of

the heart determines whether I hear God's voice, that is, know His


     Do you want the will of God? Do you want to hear His voice?

We now know how: Surrender our hearts. Make our eye single.

Surrender to the will of God.

Divine Guidance

     Many people have come up with different theories as to how

God leads His people. Some say that God does this while we are

reading scripture, by pointing out to us specific verses. Others say

that God speaks to us with a voice in our head. Some suggest that

God leads us through circumstances. And yet others would say

that the way God shows us His will is through much prayer.

     The fact is, God can and does lead His people through every

one of these methods. But the method itself is not so much at issue

here. It is what must come BEFORE the method: The surrender.

When we bypass surrender to God's will, and jump to the method,

we can run into big problems. For there is no person more

deceived than a person who is NOT surrendered to God, but who

insists that God is leading them. This is, of course, the person who

Jesus says has an eye that is "evil." He is in darkness.

     Somehow in all of the discussion of Divine guidance, we miss the

most common way that God leads His people: Through a

knowledge of Himself. If we know God, we are going to more easily

discern His will. We will more easily know what is of Him, and what

is not of Him.

     For instance, if I know God, I am not going to be led astray by

some supposed thought which comes into my mind pretending to

be the Holy Spirit. I will know that there is no condemnation for those

who are in Christ. So I'll know condemnation cannot be of Him. I'll

know fear is not of God. I'll know any suggestion which inflates my

pride is not of God. I'll know that any thought which is contrary to the

Bible cannot be of God.

     Circumstances will not be able to easily lead me astray if I know

God. I will know to a great degree what is right in the sight of God,

and what is not right. I will know when to take a stand and when to


     Emotions will not easily lead me astray if I know God. That is

because despite their influence and persuasiveness, I will be able

to tell when they are out of order with the will of God. So I will not

obey them. I will stand against them.

     Knowing God's will cannot be divorced from knowing God. For

once we do divorce these two, we end up with dead religion. We

end up with a religion of dead principles to follow, but no living

relationship. In time, even our principles will begin to take on

corruption -- for that is what dead things do: They become


Corruption From Simplicity

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused

you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to

Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve

through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the

simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another

Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit,

which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not

accepted, ye might well bear with him. (II Cor. 11:1-4)

     The word "corruption" here is PHTHEIRO. It means "to destroy

by bringing into a worse state." It is this condition which Paul says

happens when we depart from "simplicity in Christ."

     As mentioned earlier, "corruption" is decay. It happens only to

that which is dead. Thus, we see what God is trying to tell us with

this word. He is telling us that to be double-minded brings us into

a condition of corruption, because to be double-minded brings

death to our spirit.

     But there is something else we need to see about this state of

corruption: If "corruption" is "to destroy by bringing into a worse

state," this implies that there was a better state. Or, to put it another

way, something cannot be corrupted by death unless it is first alive.

     So when Paul says he is afraid that the Corinthians will be corrupted

FROM the simplicity that is in Christ, he is implying that simplicity in

Christ is the condition from which the Corinthians began. They

were in danger of coming into a worse state only because they had

begun in a good state: Singleness of heart in Christ Jesus.

     Get that. You cannot be corrupted FROM simplicity in Christ

unless you first HAD simplicity in Christ. Corruption speaks of that

which was alive coming into a worse state, in this case, because

a singleness of mind in Christ had become double-minded.

     Yet before we jump to conclusions and say, "Yes, I have known

many unbelievers who are double-minded. I have known many

people who have rejected Christ who were double-minded," let's

think again. Those who reject Christ are NOT double-minded. No.

They are single-minded -- in their own will. They are dead. But not

as a result of falling FROM simplicity. They never had it to begin


     Those who reject Christ are not trying to serve God and mammon.

No. They aren't trying to serve God at all. They are serving

mammon, period. They are single-minded in their own will. And

dead to Christ.

     But not so with those who have known Christ. Those who have

known Christ DO try to serve God and mammon. They are able to

be double-minded because they know enough to be that. Thus,

Paul and Jesus, in addressing the condition of double-mindedness,

are not talking to unbelievers. They are talking to those who claim

to be Christians.

     Only someone who claims to be in Christ could have a double-

mindedness towards the will of God and his own will. Only a person

who is a Christian is able to serve both God AND mammon. Thus,

Paul's concern is for Christians, lest we DEPART from what we once

had: Singleness of heart in Christ. Surrender to the will of God.

As the Serpent Beguiled Eve

     Note how Paul uses the analogy of a husband and wife. He

compares our singleness of heart to the faithfulness of a wife to her

husband. A wife is supposed to have only one husband, not two.

In like fashion, we cannot have more than one Lord. We cannot

serve God and mammon. We cannot have our will and God's will.

     But Paul goes on to give the example of how Eve's mind was

corrupted from singleness in God, and how he fears that the same

thing will happen to us. So we need to ask: What did happen to

Eve? How did Satan beguile, or trick her? And why did it result

in double-mindedness?

     If we read the account in Genesis, and examine the conversation

between the serpent and Eve, we find out. Eve began that

exchange with the serpent with her eye single to God's will. But

the first words out of the mouth of the serpent should have been a

warning. Those first words were, "Hath God said.....?" (Gen. 3:1)

     Just reading the words cannot capture the tone or motive of the

serpent. But there was a suggestion here as to whether what God

had said was true: "Has God said that you can eat of EVERY tree

of the garden? No? You are not allowed to eat of this one tree?

Really? God really said that?"

     Of course Eve told the Truth: Yes, God HAD said that. In fact,

she stated clearly that God had also told them that if they ate of the

forbidden tree that they would die.

     It is here that the serpent's subtle questioning leaps to a direct

accusation of God. The serpent answered, "You shall not die." And

then he suggested to Eve that the reason God lied to them was to

keep them from something good.

     This was only verified in Eve's mind when she looked at the tree

and "saw that it was good." In other words, once she allowed for the

possibility that God might have lied, and began trusting she own

observations and conclusions, she verified that the tree was good,

and therefore God must have lied to them.

     Now note exactly how Eve fell from having an eye that was single

to God's will, to one which became corrupted: First, she was offered

something: To be like God. THAT was the hook; the bait. Then she

chose to STOP trusting God, and to START trusting in her own

observations. In other words, Eve said to herself, "Yes, God HAS

said not to eat of this tree. Yes, God HAS said that we will die in the

day we eat. But I see no evidence that this is true. In fact, I see only

evidence to the contrary. Maybe I CAN be like God."

     People repeat this kind of thing all the time. We KNOW what

God has said about many things. His word is clear about them. But

then we are offered something. Perhaps not to be like God, but

something else. Maybe something positive. Maybe deliverance

from something negative. And if we are not careful, we will find

ourselves saying, "Has God said......?" We will begin to examine

what WE think and what WE feel, and come to the conclusion that

as long as it doesn't hurt anyone, it must be right. But in the process

we stopped trusting God and started trusting ourselves. We

became double-minded.

     Eve went to Adam with her choice, and He repeated it. But the

sin of Adam was far greater than the sin of Eve. Paul says that

the serpent beguiled, or tricked Eve. But the scripture also says

that Adam was NOT tricked. In other words, he knew exactly what

he was doing.

     We have to get this straight. Had the serpent known he could

trick Adam, he would have tried. But the fact that he approached

Eve, and succeeded in tricking her, suggests that Adam knew too

much to be tricked. But Satan did get to him by using Eve. This

is no excuse. It was Adam, and not Eve, who was responsible for

what happened between God and the human race.

     In this garden account, we see a perfect example of what it

means to have an eye which is single. We see it by seeing the

opposite. As long as Adam and Eve believed God, and were

totally focused upon His will, all was well. But the moment they

they questioned God and began trusting in their own understanding,

they began to be double-minded. It killed them.

     One of the best verses in the Bible which stands as a correction

to this sin is found in Proverbs 3:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own

understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall

direct your paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD,

and depart from evil. (Prov. 3:5-7)

Reaping What We Sow

     Too many Christians take the words and warning of God lightly.

We simply do not think if we disobey God that we are going to reap

the consequences. But according to God Himself, if this is the

case -- if we do NOT reap what we sow -- then God is mocked. He

is a joke.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows,

that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh

reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap

reap life everlasting. (Gal. 6:7-8)

     Read that again. Do you believe it? Do you believe that what

you sow you are going to reap? If you don't believe it, then you are

mocking God. You are calling accountability to Him a joke. You are

scoffing at His righteousness and His holiness. And you are a


     The fact is, I will reap what I sow. God's reputation depends on it.

But notice what this picture of "sowing and reaping" suggests. It

suggests that I won't necessarily reap what I sow immediately. Just

as it takes time for a seed that is sown in the ground to bring forth a

plant, and then fruit, so it will take time for the consequences -- good

or bad -- of my choices to come to fruition.

     There is another suggestion too: When a sow a seed, I do not

get a seed. Instead, I get what the seed becomes. And most often,

when I sow a seed, I don't know what it will become as to it's fullness.

     So we have to understand that it is not necessary that we grasp all

of the ramifications of our choices when we make them. We are

going to experience them anyways. Our choices are going to have

results -- long-term results. They will become something. And we

will become something because of them.

     Make no question: The penalty of wanting my own will is that I

will get it -- and everything that comes with it. If I sow self-will, I shall

reap everything it carries. And it does not matter whether I knew

ahead of time all that it would carry.

     For instance, do we think that Adam and Eve had any idea what

was going to happen if they sinned against God? No. They could

not have known. But here is what they did know: What God had

said. And that is enough.

     This is not unfair. If we really trust God, it will be enough for us that

He has spoken. We will obey. If we are single-minded towards Him,

we are not going to demand that He explain every consequence to

us for disobedience, or every blessing for obedience, so that we

can decide whether to obey. If we are doing that it is evidence that

we have already been corrupted from simplicity and are already



     I will reap what I sow. Everytime, all the time. No exceptions. But

what about forgiveness? Can't I be forgiven for sowing to the flesh?

Must I still reap corruption?

     The very essence of "forgiveness" is that I have sown to the flesh,

but am delivered from the terrible harvest which would otherwise

result. But this does NOT mean that the law of sowing and reaping

is somehow cancelled. No. What it means is that by faith I have

sown NEW seed -- in Christ Jesus.

     When I give myself into the hands of God, not only is all that I

have sown redeemed, but I am redeemed. This means I no longer

belong to myself, but to God. Consequently, all the seeds I've

sown, and all of the fruit they have produced, also belong to God.

He can either use them to feed me, or toss them in the trash.

Never think that the forgiveness of God means that you will not

reap temporal consequences for forgiven sin. You might, for God

is not going to suspend physical laws or change history. But He

will redeem what you reap. Even if you have sown some pretty bad

seed, through Christ, God will take what you reap and feed you. Or

He may choose to simply throw it away.

     We see this with King David. He repented of his sin with

Bathsheba. But God did not remove all of the consequences for it.

Instead, much it came upon him. It was necessary to redeem David.

God, in that case, took the temporal consequences of David's sin

and used it to feed him spiritually, in an eternal way.

     Sin is forgiven in Christ once for all, and forever. The temporal

consequences for sin are all around us. But for one who has put

His faith in Christ, even those are in His hands. The fact that those

consequences are in the hands of Christ is actually what we reap,

if we sow our hearts by faith in Jesus.

A Single Eye

     Jesus Christ always had a "single eye." It never occurred to Him

to be double-minded. Why? Because He knew His Father. And

once you know God, single-mindedness is voluntary. It is the only

way any sane person would choose.

     God exhorts us to have the SAME mind that Christ had:

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm

yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in

the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest

of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

     Here we again see what it means to have a "single eye." It

means to live focused upon the will of God. It means to be totally

surrendered to God. And if we will do that, we will be in the process

of "ceasing from sin" -- THE sin. Which sin? The sin of living for

ourselves; of belonging to ourselves. This is the sin of the human


     God is going to have His will in this universe. He will have it with

me, or without me. But He will have it. And if we simply believed

Him, we would see that this is the best news possible, and would

do everything we can to become one with Him through Jesus Christ.

The Good News - Home

Hit Counter