“The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might…Eph 1: 17-19 (NIV)
I’d like to begin with a little light refreshment. I spent over ten years training to be and then serving as an officer in the British Army. It was the nineties and much of the equipment we had dated backed to the Cold War era. Much of my early service, in between operations in Northern Ireland, was spent with my head sticking out of an armoured vehicle going round and round in circles on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. Night manoeuvres they called them. Frankly, looking back it was pretty farcical and praise God we never actually had to fight like that! The greatest comedy was found when they ordered us to turn all of our lights off and keep driving; this was to simulate ‘covert’ operations. What I think a very well paid general somewhere forgot, was that the engine of my tank could be heard over five miles away on a clear night. Not that ‘covert’. Anyway, we had these brilliant goggles that allowed us to see in the dark. You strapped them onto your helmet and they flicked down in front of your eyes. We used to pretend to be Daleks from Dr Who (all very mature)! So, there we were in pitch black with these night vision goggles on, with which you could see maybe 50 meters at best. However, each vehicle was also fitted with infra-red headlights. When you turned these on, they illuminated the path ahead with the same frequency of light that the goggles used. Suddenly you could see far as far as the headlights shone, and moreover you could also see all of the other vehicles driving around. Instead of groping around in the dark you could clearly see your surroundings, illuminated in brilliant green!
My point; simply that without the headlights our vision through the goggles was very limited and without the goggles the headlights were useless as the naked eye cannot see infra-red light. We needed both.
We have to walk out our lives using not our earthly eyes, but the eyes of our heart. Like the infra-red headlights, The Father has illuminated the world through the sacrifice of his Son, the expression of perfect love. The cross illuminates the Kingdom of God, however in order to see and enjoy that illumination we too have to look with the eyes of our heart, fixing our gaze on not that which is seen, but that which is unseen. 2 Cor 4:18 (NIV) We have to make sure that the goggles of our heart, which are lenses of love, are working properly. Martin Lloyd-Jones speaks of this as like simply having cataracts over the eyes of our heart. We already have the eyes, as these were opened when we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord. As we journey with him, he is removing the cataracts from them in order that we may see with his eyes, rather than our own. Only when the eyes of our heart are tuned into the perfect illumination of the cross and the perfect representation of love that this brings, will we see in the glorious technicolor of the Kingdom of God.
This requires faith, and faith belongs to and is a gift from God. I think that if we simply made that single adjustment to everything that we did, we would see a radically different church. I don’t need to look through the eyes of business to see ‘Kingdom Business’, nor do I need to put my ‘educational’ spectacles on to build some form of ‘Kingdom Education’ project. All we need to do is simply allow our eyes to adjust to his light, as he is the Light of the World. His light has already shone in the darkness and it continues to do so, whether we see it or not. We need to tune into where he is already shining and follow his path into that place, regardless of the context. This means that we need to be free to move, free to go, free to obey. I don’t think the 21st century church in its current form has that degree of flexibility; God is breaking the mould….. to be continued.