A “Simple Eye” Is Needed
WHAT our eyes focus on, what they see and how they see have a bearing on our actions. Good vision can help us to avoid danger, whereas defective vision can cause us to misjudge matters and bring injury to ourselves and others.
It is for this reason that Jesus Christ spoke of the “eye” as a “lamp.” He said: “The lamp of the body is the eye. If, then, your eye is simple, your whole body will be bright.”—Matt. 6:22.
In a literal sense, a “simple” eye would be one that is in focus, conveying clear images to the mind. On the basis of clear visual impressions, decisions can be made for the benefit of the entire body. If, however, the eye were to wander aimlessly, not fixing its attention on any particular object, confused and blurred images would be conveyed to the mind. The effect of this could be compared to walking in the darkness of night.
What is true in a literal sense is also true in a spiritual sense. In fact, Jesus Christ, in speaking of the “simple” eye, had this aspect in mind. And spiritual vision depends upon whether the heart, mind and conscience are trained in harmony with God’s will. If they are not, the individual is in “darkness.” He is blind to his responsibilities toward God and fellowmen and therefore acts in ways that are injurious.
When not guided by the righteous principles of God’s Word, a person can come to view things in an impure way or with evil design. That is why the Bible refers to the ‘ungenerous eye,’ the “envious eye” and “eyes full of adultery.” (Deut. 15:9; Prov. 28:22; 2 Pet. 2:14) How might a person’s eye be “ungenerous”? The ‘ungenerous eye’ has no compassion but is deliberately blind to the needs of others. Selfishness and an unwillingness to sacrifice in behalf of others becloud the vision. Similarly, one may also come to look upon what others have with envy, making one a “man of envious eye.” And the married man who keeps on looking at a woman other than his wife so as to develop a passion for her reveals himself to be one whose eyes are “full of adultery.”
Effort is required to maintain a “simple” eye, one that does not look desiringly upon what is wrong. There being sinful inclinations within us, we should at all times strive to keep these under control, praying that we do not begin to look upon something bad as desirable. This would be in keeping with the prayerful expression of the psalmist: “Make my eyes pass on from seeing what is worthless.”—Ps. 119:37.
Another vital factor in maintaining a “simple” eye is appreciation for the relationship one enjoys with the Creator, Jehovah God. This relationship should be the focal point of one’s life. When that is the case, a person is stirred to exert himself to maintain an approved standing before Jehovah. He does not allow himself to be sidetracked by selfish desires.
Rather than making perishable material things his chief goal in life, a person with a “simple” eye has as his prime concern the ‘storing up of treasures in heaven,’ treasures that cannot be lost, stolen or destroyed. (Matt. 6:19-21) His record of fine works is indeed like riches deposited with Jehovah God, who does not forget the faithful deeds of his servants but rewards them with grand blessings. (Heb. 6:10) These fine works include, not only assisting others to gain an accurate knowledge of God’s purposes, but also looking well to one’s Christian obligation to care for family responsibilities, being exemplary in what one does at work, school or elsewhere, and being alert to aid fellow believers in their time of physical or spiritual need. (Gal. 6:10; Eph. 4:25; 1 Tim. 5:8; Titus 2:1-10) Yes, rather than putting his trust in transitory riches or selfishly seeking to amass still greater wealth, the person having a “simple” eye strives to use what he has in furthering the advancement of true worship and assisting those in real need.
When a person’s eye is truly fixed on the Creator, he does not become overanxious about ‘making a living.’ He appreciates the wisdom of Jesus’ counsel: “Stop being anxious about your souls as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. Does not the soul mean more than food and the body than clothing? Observe intently the birds of heaven, because they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses; still your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are?”—Matt. 6:25, 26.
This does not mean that the servant of God will not experience problems in making a living, or suffer adversity and enemy opposition. Proverbs 24:16 says: “The righteous one may fall even seven times.” But will the “righteous one” be forsaken, completely abandoned without any help when faced with such adverse circumstances? Not at all. The proverb continues: “He will certainly get up.” God will help him to overcome.
The person whose “eye” is always on Jehovah will therefore not allow himself to be robbed of the calming assurance that, regardless of what might happen, his God will not forsake him. (Heb. 13:5) He will not get ensnared into thinking that he will have to resort to dishonesty in order to make a living. Along with other devoted servants of God, he will be of good courage and say: “Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”—Heb. 13:6.
Truly a “simple” eye is needed; it serves as a real safeguard. In that the “simple” eye shifts away from the desire to gain riches and away from undue anxiety about the cares of life, the faculties of the body continue to be used in acquiring the more valuable spiritual riches. Then, too, the person who views everything from God’s standpoint will not become a practicer of the degraded works of the flesh—‘uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, spiritism, enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these.’ (Gal. 5:19-21) This is because, as Galatians 5:16, says: “Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire at all.”
Are you working hard to maintain a “simple” eye, one that focuses its full attention on Jehovah God and looks at things in a pure way? Your welfare and life depend upon this.