“The light of the eye rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones. The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” – Proverbs 15:30-32
“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” – Proverbs 20:12
Jesus spoke in parables, stories that often had a concealed meaning. Jesus’ disciples asked him why he did this. Jesus said he did this because even though they (those who weren’t his disciples) saw they didn’t see and even though they heard they didn’t hear. Then Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah, “‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.’ For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.” (Matthew 13:14-15) There were too many other things than the deeds and words of Jesus going into the eyes and ears of these people for them to see and hear what they were saying. Therefore, their minds and hearts were polluted.
But, talking to his disciples, Jesus says, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:16). There was nothing special about his disciples that caused them to be able to truly see and hear what Jesus was saying. As Proverbs 20:12 says, it is the Lord that makes an individual’s eyes and ears able to see and hear.
Proverbs 15 tells us the importance of the eye and ear. The light of the eye rejoices the heart and the ear listens to life-giving reproof (words). Jesus tells us specifically about this.
In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” The word for healthy actually means single. Jesus says, “If you eye is single…” This means that if your eye has a single focus, then your whole body will be full of light. Our single focus should be Jesus. We should look at nothing else. Paul writes in his letter to Colossians to set your mind on Christ.
Jesus also speaks of words of reproof that are life-giving in the book of Revelation chapters 1-3. Look at his words to the seven churches. In most cases, Jesus commends the seven churches for something they are doing well, but then he reproves them for something they are not doing. These words of reproof are meant to give life. After the reproof, Jesus says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Jesus follows that statement by saying the one who takes action on the word of reproof will be an overcomer, that is they will conquer death and have life.
Jesus and Paul state that what goes in the mouth (food) doesn’t really matter because it goes into the stomach and then out of the body. However, they both tell us the importance of what goes in the eye and in the ear because both what we see and what we hear goes into our mind and heart. And, what comes out of our mouths is what is in our hearts and that is what defiles us (Matthew 15:18).
Therefore, we must be very diligent about what we allow into our eyes and ears. We must guard these gateways to our hearts carefully. What goes in our eyes and in ears doesn’t leave our body like food. It gets stuck there. But, by focusing what we see and what we hear on Jesus we will be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2).