Jesus told us, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34 NKJV).
This really hit home recently while I was ministering in Southern California. My glasses were not sitting right on my face (I had dropped them) and after prophesying over a pastor he came up and asked if he could adjust them. His full-time job in Seattle was working with eyeglasses … he was a church planter. He had travelled many hours to be at our meetings. I so appreciated him correcting the fit of my glasses as then I could see properly out of my progressive lenses.
My eyesight is not as poor as some people’s. But when my glasses fit properly I can read with a lot more ease and catch details that I otherwise miss. Just as people go to an eye doctor to get glasses or have surgery to give them better eyesight, we’re not stuck with our current life paradigm. We can choose a better one!
The word paradigm come from the Greek and is, in a general sense, a reference to a set pattern or way we see the world – not in terms of our physical eyes but in terms of our assumptions, beliefs, and overall perspective. It’s what we might call our mind’s eye.
This is what Jesus was referring to as He explained the eye as the lamp of the body. He was saying that the eye can be good or the eye can be bad, and the condition of our eye affects what we see or don’t see, what we experience or miss out on. If our eyes are good, it’s like turning on a lamp inside of us. We brighten up in our spirits because we’re living with a greater awareness of God’s goodness and blessings in our lives.
The opposite is true about bad eyes; they miss seeing the good. They may or may not take in darkness, but they definitely don’t take in light. What they don’t see is not what they are incapable of seeing but typically what they are not trained to see.
In a similar way, the only thing that’s different between a negative person and a positive person is what they “see.” Two people can grow up in the same home with similar life experiences, and one will be negative about life and the other will be positive. Even though they have been surrounded by the same environment and have the same parents, what they see and the way they see it is different.
Negative people are not bad. Pessimistic people are not ignorant. In fact, oftentimes negativity is a trait of people who are highly informed in what they call reality. When passing along their perspective, they will tell you, “I’m not being negative; I’m just being real!” And they are being real in what they are aware of and educated in, which is the “life is hard” reality. They have taken pages of notes and have the data to support the fact that life is not a gravy train!
When people are deeply educated in the “life is hard” reality but undereducated in the “God is good” reality they lean towards the unfavourable possibilities versus seeing the possibilities of something good. The reason these people can get stuck in their negativity is that they have accepted that the “life is hard” reality (paradigm) cancels out the “God is good” (paradigm) reality.
I have found that anyone, even people highly aware of the “life is hard” reality, will become authentically optimistic when they educate themselves in the “God is good” reality. You don’t have to deny the realities associated with life being hard to see the realities associated with God being good!
When you look through ‘good eyes’ you see, recognize, and accept that there is a problem and life is difficult. But, you first see it as a challenge and an opportunity to see God move and do something amazing and supernatural. You rise to the challenge that the reality offers to you. You accept the negative reality as something God knew was coming and has prepared you to handle. His grace being more than sufficient. So, both ‘good eye’ and the ‘bad eye’ see the same reality … but the ‘good eye’ sees it as an amazing opportunity for God to show Himself strong in the situation and for them to learn and grow in their walk of faith as a believer.