Of Growth
And Strength


Darkness as Light -- Part 1

Matthew 6:22-24 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy 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.

Jesus in this parable said: “The light of the body is the eye.”  We could translate this first sentence to read: Where your vision is, there is your enlightenment.

This thought is echoed in Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The Bible tells us that as sure as we can receive revelation from the Spirit of God, the enemy can also come as an angel of light and give us revelation according to our personal lusts for the things of the world and for the aggrandizement of our flesh.

Jesus continues speaking in Matthew 6:22  “ . . .If therefore thine eye be single thy whole body is full of light.” We could translate this part of the verse thusly: “If this is true, and you have a singleness of vision – your whole being would be flooded with light.” 

This is probably where most believers would have liked Christ to have stopped. By itself this verse would have qualified as a wonderful promise of God. “Where your vision is, there is your enlightenment. And if this is true and you have a singleness of vision  -- you’re whole being would be flooded with light.” 

Contrary to current popular opinion Christ was not in the habit of delivering feel-good parables to either the Pharisees or His disciples. In this parable Christ is speaking to his disciples on the subject of “Spiritual Enlightenment” or “How to hear from God.”

There is no lack of the Logos or the Letter, the sons of the Pharisees have seen to writing about every jot and tittle. –  Despite the efforts of man there indeed has been a great famine of the hearing of “the word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Father.”   And this lack of hearing has brought forth great death and great darkness and you can rest assured that great judgment will follow.

Many in this day have trouble hearing from God. This lack of hearing is not confined to a few young charismatic believers a Christian Pop-preaching would have us beleive. Far from it, this problem affects spirit-filled elders, deacons, song leaders, and pastors and teachers alike. These have permanently stunting their walks, because of this lack of hearing for God.  And quite predictably they end up falling short of the level of fruits that they had themselves had anticipated in their lives.

I personally sat in a meeting where the head of United Pentecostal denomination confessed to a congregation that for as long as he has been a believer he has not known how to pray, He then with quite some detail described his struggle with that issue. For decades whenever he heard that someone in his denomination was a man of prayer he would invite them to preach in his church and put them up in his house where he would watch them pray and then ask questions of them. His conclusion to the audience was one of a disillusioned man, because he never found what he was looking for. Instead he said in a tired resigned tone of voice “I then realized that I had known all along how to pray.” 

I also personally know the President of a Spirit-Filled Bible Collage. The man has openly told me repeatedly over the years that he has had great trouble hearing from God. Not only that but this man has now been declared by some (mistakenly) an Apostle.  For as long as I have known him has been wholly dependant upon the prayers of others and on the ability of others to hear from God for him. 

What Christ is suggesting in Matthew 6:22 is that there is a direct correlation between one’s relationship or focus on God and their ability to hear or walk in the Spirit.

Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. Even in the Old Testament David knew something about this spiritual enlightenment and the indwelling of God, What he is saying is that without the candle of the Lord there can be no searching of our inward parts.

Romans 10:14-15 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? And let me ask how shall they be sent except they hear from God?

This lack of having a singleness of vision of God among believers today, and their lack of being flooded with the light of God has been a growing problem not just today but it has been growing for generations.   And if we would tell the truth we would have to say that it has grown to epidemic proportions in Christian fellowships. 

Instead of being sent by God, all too many Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic preachers have arbitrarily decided in themselves that they have the call of God in their life.  They then proceed to run out in the ministry able to do not much more than parrot other’s messages and mimic other’s ministries.  And this problem lack of hearing in these preachers compounds itself in the harvest fields, when those that they win to Christ and teach exhibit less of a firm and vital personal relationships with God than their pastor, teacher or evangelist. Generationally this breeds blinder and blinder disciples each a successive degraded copy of the last.  And as we have already indicated that those who are afflicted with this lack of hearing become the heads of  fellowships, teachers, and the leadership of entire denominations Christ termed this malady: “The blind leading the blind.” And of this Christ said: “Both shall fall into the ditch.”

So in Matthew 6:22 we find Jesus addressing this problem with singleness of vision in his disciples. This is Spiritual Enlightenment 101. It’s a survey course so Jesus is not going to go too deeply into the matter. He is more interested in introducing the disciples to the tools of how to hear from God, that they will be called upon to use in virtually every other course He will teach them.

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Where your vision is, there is your enlightenment. And if this is true and you have a singleness if vision, you’re whole being would be flooded with light.”

So one of the first things that Christ is telling his disciples is that their eye gates are very important to their receiving spiritual enlightenment. Your focus, what you gaze upon is going to become your teacher. And again this could be a very good thing or a very bad thing depending on where your focus is.

There is an old saying that: “If you love something enough, that it will come to you and reveal you all of its secrets.” 

How many times have we heard of scientists, reporters, generals and business people who devote their entire lives to something and become a success, a giant in their field? We can say the same of: sports players, and actors.  All of these have a singleness of vision and learned over time the secrets of their craft.

And yet for every captain of industry, every scientific genius, every great general, every accomplished sports superstar or every great actor there are 10,000 people waiting in the wings with only a casual interest in the matter – all of them wanting the fame, fortune, notoriety, and stardom, but none willing to pay the price.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Temperance is an old English word.  Webster’s Dictionary defines “Temperate” as:  1) Moderation in action, thought, or feeling : RESTRAINT
2) a: A habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions b: moderation in or abstinence from the use of intoxicating drink. (Note that they mention restraint and abstinance  but that these thoughts are no longer carried in the definition.

In the early 1900’s there were Christian temperance societies these groups preached against alcohol and so the word came to mean an abstinence from drinking alcohol  -- These societies fell out of favor after the prohibition was rescinded. And later during the 1960’s to the 1970’s the word temperance was redefined to mean that when you drank you would limit your intake, that when you smoked it would be a few cigarettes a day

The word temperate in the Greek is: EGKRATEUETAI  which can be translated: Strong, stout, possessed of mastery, master of self, self-control continence, temperance -- in other words disciplined. The Greek word EGKRATEURAI is conveying two ideas the first being a discipline to the art, which is studied – the second idea is that singleness of vision that will not allow one to be diverted from the discipline.

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;

We see in Demos that he did not have that abstinence or restraint, Demos did not have that singleness of vision, Demos had begun the race but was disqualified and he left the field to go to Thessalonica where he could live an undisciplined life, a life without abstinence  

In our day and age we don’t have to go to Thessalonica to feed the lust of our eyes and the lust of our flesh we can now do it with the flick of a button.  And sad to say we can do it by any number of means, with cable TV, satellite TV, a VCR, a CD player, a computer, gaming systems, and of course the Internet.  And through these we can partake and fellowship with the world as never before, and indulge our every whim and fantasy.    

I remind you now that Christ warned his disciples that their eye gates are very important that what they focused on –  they would become partakers of and fellowship with. What we gaze upon is going to become our teacher.

I also remind you that that the fellowship of the world in at enmity with God.

And oddly enough Jesus didn’t end this parable with a message of our having singleness of vision and being. He could not end this lesson on a high note because of the condition of his hearers.

The twelve disciples were indeed following him – but they were corrupt. And I suppose that the disciples believed for quite some time that by physically being followers of Jesus – (and having given up many physical things to do so) – that they had arrived spiritually. And this is exactly the conceit that all too many born again Christians and / or Spirit-filled Christians have had it seems generation upon generation.

However our self-delusion is all the greater in this day because physically we have given up little or nothing to follow the Lord and we look at all the words of the New Testament and claim them for our own. In other words without giving up any of the physical things the disciples gave up to literally follow Christ -- we expect to walk in the words of the disciples.

So Jesus continues now in: Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.

The word “Evil” is a poor choice on the part of the King James Version translator. The Greek word that is translated “Evil” is PONEROS, which could also be translated: wicked, bad, unsound, envious, or covetous. With the understanding that the Greek word “PONEROS” can be translated, as “Envious” or “Covetous” this verse suddenly is a lot weightier than one would have thought with only a quick surface read.

Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be envious or covetous, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.

In this verse we can now see that Jesus wasted no time giving his disciples positive reinforcement to help them make the right future choices. Instead of speaking flowery platitudes and puffing up his hearers.

Christ immediately got right down to the heart of the matter, He got down to his disciples corrupt motivations for following Him, and their corrupt motivations for wanting for receiving divine enlightenment, and their corrupt motivations for wanting to hear from God.

Jesus is saying to his disciples that all of them were spiritual beings, and as such they were all made to receive divine enlightenment. And once they made that divine, vital  connection with God their being was going to be flooded with divine light. However Jesus admonishes the disciples, the fact that they were spiritual beings and that they had this God created ability to receive enlightenment also posed a great danger as well; namely that they can also hear the siren call of other voices as well. 

So Jesus is saying his disciples: Where your heart is, where your focus is, you are going to hear that voice. If your eye is single and focused on God you will (in time) receive spiritual enlightenment from Him and (in time) your being will be filled with light.  But if you have an envious eye towards others, or a covetous eye for the things of the world, the god of this world is only too willing to provide (Immediately) for you all earthly things you desire and then some. And with that hearing of other voices will come revelation as what happened to Eve in the Garden. The enemy is only too glad to help you see why you should have those earthly things and explain why you need even more earthly things. And in the day that you shall do so, you shall be utterly corrupted, for every crevice of your being is flooded with darkness.

It is the immediacy of the provender of the god of this world and the immediacy of the light of darkness of the God of this world. (The tapes, the books, the study notes, the commentaries and the like) that has attracted believers like moths to the flame of corruption.  It is that drive for self-gratification and immediate satisfaction that drives the Church of our day ministers and laity alike.  They are in fact fathers and sons.


Jesus then continues with the following admonition: If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!    

These verses are a warning that opening up your soul to receive spiritual enlightenment can result in your being taken in by other voices that sing their siren song for you to follow after them, for wealth and riches, and to satisfy every envious and covetous desire that you could have, and in so tasting of that fruit you live Eve shall fill your being with darkness.

The lessons that Christ is teaching his twelve disciples here is the underlying foundation of the Gospel, and it was written for those who desire to become true believers, and His true disciples. This is a lesson that everyone of us must come to grips with, before we can move on to more advanced subjects. 

How important is this lesson?

If Jesus felt the need to turn away from the multitudes to teach this lesson to his twelve disciples, how important could this lesson be? Consider also that not only is this warning included in all of the Gospels, but that in two of the Gospels this same lesson is brought up more than one time. If the writers of the Gospels in the limited space that they wrote chose to recall over and over again this particular lesson that would seem to indicate that they felt these words were of great spiritual importance. And if that were not enough in itself, we also find this same warning echoed again and again in the Epistles.

Lets now look now at the second quotation from Christ in the Gospel of Matthew on this very subject:

Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil (corrupted) man out of the evil (corrupted) treasure bringeth forth evil (corrupted) things.

Everyone knows that a rusty pipe brings forth rust flavored water. Now we can flush that pipe out with a high volume of water until the water runs clear, and at this point most believers would say with a high flow of the Spirit the problem has been solved. No, that is not true at all. We do not want to be deceived, as so many others have allowed themselves to be.  We need to see that nothing has fundamentally changed in the life of that pipe.   We need to see that the pipe is still corrupted, and as soon as the flow slows, the water will revert to being rust flavored again. 

And this has been the history of revival of the last two centuries, as long as there was a strong powerful flow of the Spirit the waters ran clear, but as soon as the flow slowed the corruption in the unrepentant unsanctified pipe it ran through became manifest, and the sheep were forced to drink from the brackish water dribbling out from that broken cistern.

We also want to be quite clear that this taint, this darkness was produced at the start in a vessel that did not have a singleness of vision. These never had an eye only for the Lord. Instead in their heart of hearts they were covetous towards being part of a material kingdom that they would rule over, with all the money, all the prestige, and all the power of the kingdoms of the gentiles. Thank God the twelve disciples in the Gospels were humble enough to bear their souls and their most carnal base desires to us. Thank God that they exposed their base desires to be the greatest and to rule and reign in a material kingdom. And thank God they recalled Christ teaching them time and again that these things were not to be so among his believers and that only those with a singleness of vision for God would receive the light of life.

Many in our day are covetous and have their eyes full of envy of what others have. So much so that they search over land and sea for some great minister or ministry that they might to emulate them, they read their books and tapes that they might learn from them their so called secrets. This is the path of taint and darkness.

How can this be you might ask? Formerly we were all born in the image and likeness of Adam, but then we were all called to be born of God in His image and His likeness. How is it that many have turned away from this high calling and instead they seek to corrupt the image and likeness of God in them by replacing it with the image and likeness of some other minister or ministry? Instead of taking the time to come into that intimate knowledge of the Lord and learning to hear His voice, and being taught of Him, and then being sent forth by Him as a unique vessel unto the body, these have taken the incorruptible image of God and corrupted it with the earthly and sensual; image of another minister or another’s ministry.  This is very serious stuff. 

Jeremiah 31:32-34 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

This is the measuring stick of our spiritual enlightenment.  This law of God in our inward parts and heart is the new covenant.  It is the law and revelation of God being written and illuminating our innermost beings and becoming our very desires.

So within this passage we can clearly see the great commandment – “Thou shalt love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” This love of God is coming from: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

Not only that, but we can also see the second commandment in this passage as well: ”And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me.”

If we have this same burning glowing spiritual enlightenment in our inward parts and heart that Christ had; we would feel the same bubbling driving constraint from within that He did, to tell every man his neighbor and everyman his brother know the Lord. This knowing the Lord is not merely witnessing to an unbeliever, but it is a speaking of the light, the revelation that flows from your relationship with God. In other words it is speaking of a greater knowing.  – When we don’t feel this overflow of the love of God to tell everyone of this greater to “knowing of  the Lord.” that should be an indicator that something is not right. That should be an indicator that something else is warring among our members, that our vision is no longer single, and that our light has become darkness.

If I were to sugar coat this and tell you that; “All is well, and that you can just keep on doing what you always have done and get by, I would be a liar.  The truth is that every one reading these words is conflicted within, daily you have conflicted thoughts, and daily you do mind the things of the flesh and the things of the world, -- and at times it bothers you.  I dare say that all of us have things in our lives that we have never been able to get the victory over. We have probably had victory over these things for a few days, maybe for a few weeks or in some cases a few months, but then the enemy holds up that little shiny bauble and says: You like this don’t you? You really want this don’t you? You miss it don’t you? You miss the peace and comfort you derived from it . . . And then we break down and give in and we are ensnared again. 

Pure light is interesting stuff. Pure light is actually invisible and yet visible. Pure light it has no substance but can be felt. Pure light does not filter, or shade, or color. Darkness is also very interesting stuff. Darkness is also invisible and yet visible, darkness has no substance and yet it can be felt, however darkness filters the light, it shades the light or colors the light. Darkness is not tainted by light but light is clearly tainted by darkness.

Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!  .

In saying these words Christ did not mean that if some area of your eye was corrupted that that area alone “shall be full of darkness.” There is no segmentation of darkness or compartmentalism of darkness here. The common belief is that you can have some area in your life given over to sin, and that you can limit that area and keep it under control. This thinking is delusional.

Why does this same sin happen in my life over and over again? Because we have do not have a singleness of vision of the Lord. It is because we have allowed sin to have a beachhead in our heart and soul. We thought at first we could entertain a few little things in our hearts. We thought we could keep them under control.  But just as sure as you cannot hold light in your hand and control it, you cannot hold darkness in your hand and control it either.

If these things are true in your life you should know that you are not alone and that you are in good company. The twelve disciples were also conflicted.  The twelve disciples had beachheads in their lives, and the twelve disciples had sins that they were overcome by.  The same sins time and again. But we know that all that changed. Thank God they were able to cross from darkness to light. Thank God they were able to go from having their eyes filled with envy and covetousness to having a singleness of vision for the Lord. And if they could so change, then so can we.

For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath set me free from the Law of sin and death.

I have meditated long on the question of what changed these twelve carnal disciples into the twelve apostles.  As I mentioned before if we take a rusty pipe and put a flow of water though it as long as the flow continues the water will run clear but nothing has fundamentally changed with the pipe or vessel. But we know that somehow these twelve men were changed  -- how was it done? Can we see the process in the Bible? It is painstakingly written out for us over and over again in the Gospels, the account from the last supper until Christ was glorified.

 What happened between the Last Supper and when Christ died that began the transformation of the twelve disciples into the twelve Apostles? This is a very legitimate question that few have had the insight or courage to ask it.

By the Apostles own words we can see that they never really believed that Jesus was going to die. They probably thought that an army of 10,000 angels would rush to Christ’s defense if the priests actually tried to touch him. And more particularly each disciple gave their word and swore they would never leave Christ’s side. When Jesus was arrested they all fled, they first of all broke their own promises proving in their own eyes and each others eyes who were all witnesses of their words that they all were not worthy to be his disciples, they were all liars, they were all afraid, they were all without faith, and hope, they did not love God (Jesus) above themselves, they were all without honor, they were all forever marked with disgrace and contempt. Then on top of all that when Christ died all their hopes and dreams of an earthly kingdom and earthly riches died with him. All hope that they would rule and reign with him in a restored kingdom of Israel died then and there. 

These disciples had given up everything houses, lands, husbands, wives, and children and for all that they ended up nothing. This was a severe blow to their egos. It is after this point that we find in that there were no longer any arguments about who would be the greatest -- because there was nothing left to be the greatest of.  And again this was largely because all of them were at the last supper together and they knew what each had said and in Gethsemane what each of them had done. – They had all become of no reputation – not one could boast for they had all fled.  Not one could boast that they had stood with Christ in his hour of need  -- because all knew each others sin in this matter. In fact all had fallen asleep in the garden and could not even pray one hour with Christ – So they felt very low about their spirituality, their righteousness and their commitment.

This in turn made it all the more humbling when Christ later had to seek out and appear to all of those who had failed and betrayed him. Now at this point Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection and personal forgiveness for each of the disciples suddenly had a soul felt meaning that burned down into the core of each ones being.  This had never before happened and at this point and this point alone the conversion process began in earnest. (This was the point that the laws were written upon their hearts in pain anguish and a realization that they were completely unworthy and never would be made worthy.) And this seldom happens in out day of glib empty commitments to Christ.

What does that mean to the Church? What does that mean to us as believers? 

Words of teaching will not convert your soul – we can hear words and preaching and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ – like the disciples did but words alone will not convert our soul. It will take something sharp that will shake and devastate to the core of our being – and in it we have to learn two things 1) That Christ did not die to give us material wealth and to rule here on earth 2) That there is nothing righteous in us, that we are utterly corrupt and that by our power and strength we can do nothing to please God.

At this point the disciples for the first time were able to look at Christ with a singleness of vision and if they were so changed then we can also.

Why do loved ones die unhealed?  Christ died on the cross unhealed. I know no one in the faith movement that can consider that point – “Physician heal thyself “– “He healed others but he could not heal himself.”  And even after the resurrection in his glorified body the wounds still existed. According to our current preaching and teaching these wounds should not exist. They should have disappeared when Jesus was raised by the power of the Shekina Glory of God.  Would the words of Christ “The servant is not above the master.” Have any application here?