Seeing Rightly: How to Keep a “Good Eye” amid Life’s Circumstances

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, then your whole body will be flooded with light.” 

These are the words of Jesus, spoken 2000 years ago. 

On the surface, they seem rather straightforward in their interpretation: if your perspective on things is good or right, everything else in your life will fall into place. If you see rightly, you live rightly. But is there more to it than meets the eye? Pardon the pun, and let’s unpack this together.

Seeing is the most immediate way we navigate the world. It is also one of the most automatic. We don’t need to make any effort to see. We simply open our eyes and look around, as we have been doing since we were born. In the same way that this act of taking in and interpreting information happens subconsciously in our natural sight, it also occurs in our spiritual sight.  By spiritual sight, we mean our worldview and perspective on life. You can’t not have a spiritual perspective, just as you can’t not have a natural perspective. The only question is, what will your perspective be?

Right Perspective

Many of us err in life because, quite simply, we lack the proper perspective. What I mean is this: when trials come, be they big or small, the lens we view these things with is marred. God, in particular, is not seen correctly.  He has declared himself good, said that he loves us with unfailing love, and called himself faithful; that he will never leave nor forsake us. And yet, we still experience disappointments, setbacks, opposition, hurt, loss, accidents. The list goes on. Maybe your insurance payment goes up. Perhaps you don’t get the job you were hoping for. Maybe you lose your job entirely. Perhaps, someone you love breaks up with you. Maybe you have a serious health crisis. Maybe a family member dies without knowing Jesus. 

Are we looking at God through the lens of our circumstances and feelings, or are we looking at our circumstances through the lens of God’s promises?

The afflictions of life are many. At times, the disconnect between what God has said and what we are feeling or experiencing can be extreme. But which are we using to measure the other? Are we looking at God through the lens of our circumstances and feelings, or are we looking at our circumstances through the lens of God’s promises? In the same way that we focus with our natural eyes, we must choose to focus with our spiritual eyes. The one thing we can’t do is not focus. We will be looking at something, and the goodness of God has to be the lens through which we view and interpret our circumstances, experiences, thoughts, and emotions. The difficulty is not letting your circumstances dictate your perspective. Intentionally viewing life’s events through the lens of God’s faithfulness as promised in his word — this is the key to finding peace and strength you while experiencing those very same circumstances.

Hebrews 12 talks about “looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” When the lens of our life, the eye of our heart, is fixed intently on Jesus, when we begin to grasp how big his love truly is, everything changes. Our problems don’t disappear, but they have a far less destructive impact when our hearts are enabled by the Spirit to see “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of Christ’s love…” In fact, I believe that once we truly start to see how good He is, how lovely He is, how worthy He is, we genuinely stop living for ourselves. Our problems are no longer “our problems.” Rather, every problem becomes an opportunity to manifest Jesus — to stand in faith, to worship, to love, and to declare his goodness. We are all at once freed from our circumstances and empowered to fully engage those circumstances in a way that truly moves the heart of God.

The Beauty of Jesus

There is one final aspect of having a good eye that goes beyond how we view our circumstances or how we interpret reality. Having a good eye, having your body flooded with light, is simply this: behold the beauty of Jesus. Ephesians talks about “having the eyes of our heart enlightened.” There is a revelation of the heart that occurs when we truly see Jesus for who he is, not merely for what he does for us. In the 27th psalm, David said there was only one thing he desired, one thing he would pursue; “to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.” The Lord, King Jesus, as the visible image of the invisible God, is the embodiment of beauty, wonder, and awe.  We take the eyes of our hearts and gaze upon him with no other purpose than to behold and adore him. When our hearts begin to see him rightly, the entire experience of life is transformed from the dull black and white of circumstances and feelings into the brilliant living colour of worship and wonder.

Seeing matters. You can’t not do it. What you look at will determine the direction of your life, both presently and in the long run. So today, even right now, take the eyes of your heart and fix them upon the Lord Jesus. He’s waiting for you to look at him. He wants you to look at him. Jesus wants to change your perspective, renew your mind, and flood your body with light.

Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn