Our ability to visualize, to imagine, is grounded in a library of images stored in our brains, sourced originally from our eyes. From these images, and others we derive from them, we create dreams, what-if scenarios in which avatars of ourselves act out our fantasies in panorama. We’re able live in an alternate world, exploring ideas and theories to see how they play out without any real consequence. It is a fascinating capability with unlimited potential.
We might call this the mind’s eye; equipping us to navigate a complex metaphysical world much like our physical eyes enable us to navigate the material world. It is a gift from God helping us to order our steps and avoid catastrophe, both physical and metaphysical.
We should find it intriguing then when Christ describes the eye as the light of the body (Mt 6:22a), for the inside of the physical body is not typically illuminated with light; the eye translates light into electrical impulses which form images in our brains stored as memories; the light itself doesn’t go past the back of the eye.
Yet Christ speaks of our eye as a lamp illuminating every part of our whole body (22b), as if our bodies were complex labyrinths, the eye helping us explore and see what’s inside. He must then be speaking of the mind’s eye and the metaphysical body, the heart (Mk 7:21-23), that collection of memories, values, concepts, knowledge, emotions and attitudes stored in the circuitry of our brains and bodies, and also fully imprinted within our spirits and souls (Lk 16:25), uniquely defining who and what we are. (Mt 7:16-20)
As our physical eyes work by focusing, and effectively blind us when they don’t, so it is with our mind’s eye: in order to function as God designed, we must have a singular focus or objective in our imaginative process (23a), else we’re double-minded, unstable in all of our ways. (Ja 1:8) The rules we use to evaluate memories and the outcomes of our mental scenarios are the rules we’re using to navigate life. If the rules are inconsistent, our thoughts and actions will be erratic and incoherent.
As in the physical, metaphysical focus distinguishes between light and dark, and identifies, discerns and evaluates moral choices to understand how they have or will impact ourselves and others. This requires us to have a framework of moral experience and a moral standard by which to evaluate what we remember and perceive.
If we get our moral standard wrong, mixing up light and darkness, calling evil good and good evil (Is 5:20), this fills us with darkness which we perceive as light. This then is a kind of darkness, a body of lies which deceive, blind and ensnare us (Mt 23:b), aligning us with the prince of darkness (Ep 2:2), the father of lies (Jn 8:44), who then takes us captive. (2Ti 2:26)
Even when we want to obey the truth, the challenge is we don’t always know what our own rules are (Ro 7:21-23), the principles and beliefs operating within us, what’s driving our own behavior. (14-15) We all start out as darkness (Ep 5:8), making up our own moral standard as we go (Ge 3:22); we need to be continually retraining our minds, both the conscious and subconscious (Ro 12:2), to expose this darkness within ourselves (Ep 4:17-18), searching our inward parts with God (Pr 20:27), asking Him to expose (Ps 19:12), cleanse (Ps 119:9) and heal every facet of our mind and heart which is not yet aligned with His Way. (Ps 139:23-24)
Christ warns us to be very careful about what we call light, that it’s not darkness. (Lk 11:35) As we decide for ourselves what’s right and wrong, as our decisions differ from God’s as revealed in Torah (Ro 7:7), we’re choosing darkness. The more we do this the more our mind’s eye will play out our definitions and train us in darkness, filling us with lies about God, ourselves and others, producing bondage (Pr 5:22) and framing us as enemies of God. (Ro 8:7-8)
The more we align our moral compass with God’s (Ja 1:25), the more we’re walking in the light (Ep 5:8), into the freedom to which He’s called us. (Jn 8:31-32) Christ has given Himself for us that He might redeem us from our darkness and purify us unto Himself. (Tit 2:14) He is more than willing to do so. (Ga 1:4)