“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears because they hear.”
Matthew 13:16 (NLT)
As a young marine recruit aged 17 and a half in the early 50s I remember vividly arriving at the Marine Infantry Training Centre at Lympstone, Devon. This was the place where we received instruction in the handling of platoon weapons, became proficient in field-craft, and took lots of long walks in the countryside that we called “Yomping!”
During one lecture on surviving in the field we were taught ‘Why things are seen.’ You might think that this would be obvious—just look! But the reason why we see things in open countryside has to do with observation and remembering these words, Shape, Shine, Shadow, Silhouette and Movement. Actually I am amazed that I can still remember these points after such a long time.
It’s interesting that Paul also instructs us on how to see spiritually. He tells the church at Ephesus ”I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you…” (Ephesians 1:17-18 NRSV). Clearly he is talking about something other than physical vision—a different way of seeing, and he calls it “the eyes of your heart”.
Let’s zip back to the book of Job. Here we discover that after all his suffering, trouble and woes, this ancient patriarch tells God, “I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eye sees You. Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6 Amplified). He is of course saying, “Oh, now I see you God, before it was just hearsay but now my spiritual eyes have been illuminated!” And as a result of this Job became smaller in his own eyes and God became bigger. That’s a great moment for us humans! It is through the very presence of God’s Spirit in our lives that we see spiritually. Jesus informed his disciples of this in John 16:13 (Phillips), “When that one I have spoken to you about comes—the Spirit of truth—he will guide you into everything that is true.”
“I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see!” From the hymn “Amazing Grace” by John Newton (1725-1807)
Loving Father, thank you so much for the wonderful gift of your Holy Spirit in our lives—the Holy One who illuminates our spiritual sight.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Local Congregational Contact: