“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”Matthew 6:22-23
I work for a tech company in Austin, TX that bills itself as a “digital experience platform” and our CEO is a woman who has led the company through some tremendous challenges over the last few years. One statement that she uses quite often is “Where there is focus, there is progress.” And this maxim has played itself out as we have experienced tremendous growth in our company and industry over the last 4+ years that I have been with the company. Part of this concentration on focus has been to strategize around the challenges that face us as a company. Often that strategy requires a shift in focus as we make data driven decisions about what our customers need in order to enhance their experience on our platform.
Focus drives vision. But if you have no vision of what you wish to accomplish in life, you will flounder and be left wondering why others are passing you by. If business leaders do not have a vision of where they want to take their company, it is impossible to build an effective strategy to get there. The same principle applies to the spiritual life of believers, except that our vision ought to be the vision that God has planted in our hearts to advance His kingdom.
Proverbs 29:18 says it best: “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law.” It is interesting that the writer of this proverb equates vision with obedience. And where we focus our attention will determine the degree of our obedience. If you invest your time and energy in worthless pursuits that do nothing to further the reach of God’s Kingdom, then you are effectively not living in obedience to the calling for what God expects of us as His children.
If you were to take an honest inventory of the daily activities of your life, what would that tell you about where your focus lies. Do you spend hours vegetating in front of your Netflix screens or do you invest time sitting at the feet of Jesus studying God’s Word? Do you spend time carousing the local party scene or do you invest time in discipling other believers? Do you hide yourself away in the cave of your isolation or do you reach out to touch the lives of others with the grace that God has given to transform your heart? Do you pollute your mind with worthless wanderings or are you transformed by the renewing of your mind with the wonder that comes from gazing upon the glory of God? Does your vision extend no further than the hand in front of your face or do you have a vision the extends to the uttermost ends of the world?
Truth be told, I am very afraid of what such an inventory would say about my own investment in God’s vision for His kingdom. Am I doing enough to shine light upon the glory that is His kingdom? Am I investing enough time in His word? Am I allowing my eyes to follow after the glitz and glitter of shekels of men? Am I allowing my pride to dictate that my rights are more important that His mandates? Do I treat His measureless grace as a license to sin believing that it is better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission?
Citizenship in the Kingdom of God doesn’t come with individual rights; it comes with the privilege to confidently approach the throne of grace and the responsibility and duty to serve our King. When we come to Christ and kneel at the foot of the cross of Calvary, we lay down our rights to ourselves and take on the responsibility of being an ambassador for the Kingdom. Often we will find our vision clouded by our sin and blurred by our self-interests. It is then that we need the corrective lens of the Word of God to see clearly His vision for His Kingdom.
When we focus our eyes upon His word and start to read it not for what we can get out of it, but rather study it to get to know Him so that we can answer the question “Who is the King of Glory, the LORD strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” (Psalm 24:8) We must learn to “Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” (Psalm 24:9) We must open our eyes to who He truly is and let Him into our daily hearts and lives. Then and only then can we truly and honestly declare “Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory.”