SOMETHING TO CONSIDER FROM LUKE 11
The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness … If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays. (Luke 11:34, 36)
I was living in Cocoa, Florida when I trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. When I returned home to Tennessee that summer, the first thing my father did was hand me a paint brush and a bucket of red paint; and then he pointed me in the direction of our barn.
I had been saved for only a few days; so my appearance at that time did not resemble anything clean-cut and wholesome. In fact, I looked pretty much like all the other wandering transients down in Florida during the early 1970’s, wearing an old pair of overalls, a beat-up pair of tennis shoes, with my hair tied back in a pony tail, hanging down my back.
Anyway, there I was, standing on a ladder leaning against our barn, coating its rough boards with barn paint … and singing every single hymn I could remember from my boyhood. I would dip my paint brush in the bucket and paint a stroke or two while the lyrics flowed from my mouth:
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”
But then – being stunned – I stopped singing (and painting) and thought out loud, “So that’s what that means!” And then, I continued:
“I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”
But again – being amazed – I stopped singing (and painting) and thought out loud, “So that’s what that means!”
It was the very first “worship service” I ever attended as a re-born follower of Jesus Christ; and it took place while standing on a ladder painting a barn. It took a long time to paint that barn. The Spirit of God kept interrupting me, awakening my mind from its spiritual stupor. As He began to instruct me using these Truth-saturated hymns, I was hearing for the first time songs I already knew from memory.
It would be a year or so before I understood what had happened to me that summer in my little apartment in Florida … and what had taken place while standing on a ladder painting my father’s barn:
- that it had been none other than the third Person of the Trinity Who rushed into my soul that night.
- that by His magnanimous grace, He had made my spiritual senses responsive to the Word of God … sensitive … sharpened. He had made my “eye clear.”
- and with that ability to receive God’s Truth came the capacity to finally understand His cleansing, life-changing counsel. Now, my “whole body (was) full of light” (understanding).
A miracle had taken place. A blind teenager had been given his sight. I was able to comprehend the Word of God. All the spiritual darkness that had confused my mind began to give way to a Holy Spirit-generated understanding, “as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” Until then, I had never really heard the lyrics to those hymns I could sing from memory; but now, they began to come alive to me. And over the years, the meaning of God’s Word has become clearer … and Its significance to my life more and more wondrous.
“Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray.
I woke; the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off; my heart was free.
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.
How can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!”
(“And Can It Be that I Should Gain,” Charles Wesley)