“The eye is the lamp of the body.” This strange image comes from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7, specifically 6:22). He explains, “If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (6:22,23).
What does this mean?
In our modern world, we might say, “You are what you eat.” But Jesus would say, “You are what you look at.” Whereas we might compare our eyes to cameras that face outward, taking snapshots and videos of what we see; Jesus says our eyes are more like lamps that shine on our inner being. What we look at saturates our souls. If we direct our gaze at what is immoral, wickedness will project onto the screen of our brains and shape our values. If we open our eyes to what is good, pure, and lovely, our whole bodies will be filled with light, just like your living room when you open the shades on a sunny day.
Our phones are projecting onto our souls.
Think about how Jesus’ words apply to our fixation with the six-inch screen at the end of our arms.
How has Google’s algorithm molded our values of humans, sex, beauty, power, and work?
I know how I would answer this question, and I’m ashamed.
When I am self-aware, I see that “everything from the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from . . . my phone” (paraphrase of 1 John 2:16). I admit that I get lured into an eternal loop of evil and can’t seem to break free.
That is why we need to somehow detach from devices (at least periodically, especially if they are leading us down the wrong path) so that we can “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author of our faith and the one who brings it to its goal” (Hebrews 12:2 EHV). Looking to him will fill us with his love and forgiveness. His light radiating through our eyes will heal our hearts.
We are what we look at. What we consume with our eyes, feeds our spirits. When we look at what is good, our whole bodies will be good. But if we allow our vision to focus on what is wicked, it will deteriorate our inner temples. Therefore, open the windows of your eyes to what is good, and your whole body will be filled with light.