BY: JAN ANTONSSON
JUNE 15, 2013
“Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:34)
Lenny has always perceived that verse to read, “When your eye is single, your whole body is full of light, but when it is double, your body is full of darkness and how great is that darkness.” He interpreted the verse to mean that if you see two powers, God and Satan, you’re seeing double and you will be in darkness. He didn’t get that from studying Greek, but from the Spirit. Jonathan Mitchell translates the verse this way: 34. “The body’s lamp is your eye. Whenever your eye may exist being (or: be) single (simple; = has focus that is not complex or compounded; not given to taking voyages), the whole body is also flooded with light (illuminated; shining and radiant). Yet, whenever it may be worthless (unsound; miserable; wicked; depraved; evil; malicious; disadvantaged; unprofitable; painfully bad; toil-bringing), your body also [is] dark (or: in the dark; full of darkness; shrouded with darkness).”
When spiritual intuition and scholarship agree, you’ve got a track to run on, so put on your jogging shoes and take a little spin with me. Of all the useless things I’ve ever done in my efforts to serve the Lord, fighting the devil seems to me the biggest waste of time. Forty years ago, I went through the binding, casting, and pleading the blood phase like many of you, and nearly drove myself nuts (a short drive some days), because that pesky devil was everywhere I looked.
Our Father took pity upon my frenetic activity and shined the Spirit’s light on Eph. 4:27: “neither give any place to the devil.” That’s the King James Version. The NIV renders it, “and do not give the devil a foothold,” while the RSV version reads, “and give no opportunity to the devil.” Once the light from that passage flooded my spirit, I turned toward the light and the darkness of evil which had been menacing me fled and hasn’t returned since! I diligently practiced giving him no place, sometimes not easy to do when you are worshipping with people who give the devil not only “place,” but glory. A Baptist pastor Lenny and I heard shortly after moving to Neosho railed on about how Satan had messed with the sound system, and how he had tried to thwart the lesson this man wanted to present. After the service, as we were leaving, I said to him, “You gave Satan more glory than you did Christ today.” He looked horrified, and perhaps I overstepped my own place in pointing it out to him, but sometimes it takes a dash of cold water in our faces to get our attention. When we blame the devil for every thing that goes wrong in our universe, from the largest loss of life and property to the smallest inconvenience, it seems to me that we forget who is driving this train.
It is “GOD who works all things after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL.” (Eph. 1:11) The devil has absolutely no power except what we give him out of our own mind and fears. One of our dear friends said years ago, “The devil is sitting in his parlor in hell, wearing a velvet smoking jacket, reading the L.A. Times because he has nothing to do. Christians are doing it all for him.” All kidding aside, our friend has a point here. Where did we learn to fear the devil? In church, probably, or at least I did. In fact, the first thing that came to me after Christ baptized me in the Spirit and I saw Him nailed to that cross for my sins, was, “Yikes. If Christ is real (as opposed to someone we studied about, memorized verses about, and heard about in church and Sunday School), then so is the devil.” That really scared me badly, which set me up for the industrious, though useless activity of binding Satan, casting him out of whomever or whatever he might be possessing, and pleading the blood of Jesus over Him.
Thus began the tedious saga of fighting a defeated foe. The old saints at Medicalodge where I ministered for so many years would try to tell me something the devil might do, or they thought he had done. I would read I John 3:8 to them: “He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil,” and then I’d ask if they thought Christ succeeded in His task of destroying the devil’s works, or did He fail? They got it right every time. He succeeded. So why would we ever fear Him?
Nothing can come to us except it pass through the approval process of God’s will. Many seemingly bad things have happened to me, but knowing that God sent them, not to kill me or harm me in any way, but rather, to burn off the chaff, to change my focus or understanding, helped me to endure until the end. It was always for my good and His glory no matter what it looked or felt like!
Looking at our lives as failures, or constantly fearing we fall short of God’s approval, is always a side effect of double vision. Job declared, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15) Because Job’s eye was single, he saw that even death cannot defeat God working in our lives to bring glory for Himself. After his long ordeal was over, Job declared, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee.” (Job 42:5) And so it is with us. When we see Him, we know there is no other power or authority but our Father in heaven.
Another grand example of Double Vision bringing fear was Elisha’s encounter with the King of Aram, who was constantly trying to defeat the King of Israel. Each time he would plan a march against Israel, the Lord would tell Elisha, who would relay the information to Joram, King of Israel, allowing him to take appropriate action to avoid defeat and evade capture.
The King of Aram thought there was a “wikileaks” type guy in his court who was e-mailing his secret plans to the enemy, but his officers explained, “Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” (II Kings 6:12) When the King of Aram found out that Elisha was located in Dothan, he sent his army to capture him.
The army of Aram went by night and surrounded the city. The next morning, Elisha’s servant, definitely suffering from double vision, saw the horses and chariots which had surrounded the city, and cried out, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” (Vs. 14-15) Things looked pretty grim to him right then.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” After uttering those glorious words, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (Vs. 16-17) He prayed God would strike the army of Aram with blindness; then he proceeded to tell the blind army that they were on the wrong road and he led them to Samaria. In the process, the King of Israel asked Elisha if he could kill them, but Elisha told him to feed them, which he did, showing that our God is not only Omnipotent and Omniscient, but also merciful.
These Old Testament accounts of the power of God flowing through His prophets have thrilled me and built up my faith since I was a small child, and they help me to remember that what I see with my earthly eyes is not all of what it is. Lenny is legally blind, and his vision seems to get weaker with each passing day, yet his spiritual eyes still see the Lord and his spiritual ears hear His promise to each of us separately that God will heal his eyes. Lenny is in poor physical shape right now, so when he tells me that God is going to heal him, it is a tremendous testimony to me personally about the glory of God shining through earthen vessels, especially those with a few cracks in them, like we all have.
Father, we ask You to give us clarity; let us see You as You are, for then, we shall be like You and our whole body shall be full of light. Make us light bearers and Good News bringers for Your creation, which will praise You now and forever. In Christ, was ask it. Amen.