Eyes and Ears Feed the Mind

“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).

Don’t Make Me Better, Make Me New

Psalm 51 is the prayer of David after the utter and complete wickedness of his heart was revealed to him regarding his actions towards Bathsheba and Uriah. David put himself in the wrong place at the wrong time not fulfilling his duty as king, coveted another man’s wife, committed adultery with that woman, found out she was pregnant, pulled Uriah out of the battle in attempt to get him to sleep with Bathsheba so the baby wouldn’t appear to be David’s, and when that didn’t work David sent Uriah back into the most contested part of the battle, telling the rest of the army to pull away from Uriah so he would be killed.

David thought he got away with it.

However, when David knew his sin was found out, he cried out to God, confessing everything he had done. It’s in David’s cry to God that we read what I think is the critical statement of the entire psalm. Verse 10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

This word create is a special word. In the entire Old Testament, God is the only one that is ever the subject of the Hebrew word for create. God is the only one that creates. So, this is the same word used in Genesis 1:1 when it says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

David knows that he doesn’t just need to have a few things patched up, a few cracks in his life to be repaired. David knows that being a better version of his current self is not good enough. David is not asking God to make a bad man a good man.

No, David is calling on God to perform an act of creation inside of him. David is crying out to God to be completely recreated from the very center of who he is. “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” David is asking God for a complete new heart that is clean so that every thought, every desire, every motivation, and every want is entirely and utterly different than they were before. “Renew a right spirit within me.” David is asking God to make him new again. Don’t make me better, make me new. Instead of asking God to make a bad man good, David is asking God to make a dead man live!

This is what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” We become a new creation in Christ, and in Christ alone. The old dies, and the new comes. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Paul says it another way in Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

“Do not be conformed to this world.” David knew he couldn’t go on as he was. And, neither can we go on doing anything and everything the way the world around us does it. Instead, Paul says “be transformed.” That’s the Greek word we get the word metamorphosis from. It’s to be completely changed. Do you know what happens to a caterpillar when it goes inside its cocoon to become a butterfly? The caterpillar is completely dissolved. Nothing of it is left. And, do you know that it is this same Greek word used of Jesus when he was “transfigured” in front of Peter, James, and John?

How do we “be transformed?” “By the renewal of our mind.” Every thought, desire, motivation, and intention of our thoughts has to be completely and totally changed. Only then can we know what the will of God is, what is good, what is acceptable, what is perfect.

But, note how Paul makes his appeal to the church in Rome. “By the mercies of God.” How does David start his prayer in Psalm 51? “Have mercy on me, O God.” It all begins with God’s mercy. We must recognize that and cry out for it so that He can recreate us, make us new, transform from us, so that He can make dead men live.

There is much more that could be said in the connection of Psalm 51 and Romans 12:1-2, which are two excellent passages of scripture to meditate on together.