Tag Archives: changing bad habits

‘The lamp of the body’ needs regular oil change

Ancient Brass LampThe lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! – Matthew 6:22-23

In biblical times, the lamp used was an oil lamp. Now, if an oil lamp is to give light, it must be filled with oil. The quantity and quality of oil the lamp contains determines the quality of the light the lamp gives. Moreover, it is the oil lamp that leads the way since it gives the light shows the way and illuminates a path.

So when Matthew 6:22 says ‘the lamp of the body is the eye’, it is telling us that the lamp of the body is the mind. In other words, the mind is the oil lamp that leads our body.

Light-bulb moment: The mind is the oil lamp that influences and controls our ways and actions.

For the oil lamp of the mind to be judged as good, it has to fill our entire way of life with light (Matthew 6:22). Since Jesus is the light of the world (see John 8:12), the only way for our entire being to be full of light is for us to be filled with Jesus.

Light-bulb moment: It is not just enough to have Jesus; our minds have to be filled with Him if we are to be a light to the world

Since the only way Jesus can lead us (fill our body) is through the Holy Spirit, then it becomes clear that the only way our light is good is if the oil lamp of our mind contains the pure oil of the Holy Spirit. Simply put, just as Jesus completely surrendered his mind to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we must surrender the oil lamp of our mind to the influence and control of the Holy Spirit.

The problem is that we tend to allow impure and junky bad oil to enter our oil lamps. Note that this ‘bad oil’ is like water to the pure oil of the Holy Spirit – it cannot mix with the Holy Spirit but can only displace the oil. Once bad oil is introduced, we can no longer say that the oil lamp contains pure oil.

When the oil lamp of our mind is contaminated, sometimes our mind operates on bad oil (flesh) and at other times it operates on good oil (Holy Spirit). In those times our oil lamp is running on bad oil, the light it produces is dim to the point of darkness. But when the oil is good, the light it produces is as bright as day. In other words, yo-yo like behavior is a result of good oil mixed with bad

Light-bulb moment: If we are being led by the Spirit in an area of our life but cannot get it together in another area of our life, then we need an oil change!

So how do we change our oil? First, we must dump the bad oil through confession – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – 1 John 1:9. Then, we must flush the residual junk out by renewing our mind with the word of God. Once flushed, the purified oil lamp is now ready to be filled with the pure oil of the Holy Spirit.

Light-bulb moment: The word of God is the valve that activates the inflow of the Holy Spirit into our minds. Moreover, without confession and the renewing of our minds, we find that our lights will begin to grow dark.

After this infilling of the Holy Spirit, we must then apply the right filter. Indeed, the oil lamps of our mind run smoother and shine a brighter light when we apply the filter of spiritual disciplines – reading the bible, prayer, fasting, fellowship, serving, giving, and worship.Without this filter, all we do is go through a cycle of confession without shining much in life.

So I ask you once again, when was the last time you had an oil change? If it was not today, then your light is already becoming dark.

Food for Thought: No spiritual oil change is complete without the application of spiritual disciplines

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Read and Speak Your Way into Success and Away from Trouble

“Put on a pot, set it on,
And also pour water into it.
Gather pieces of meat in it,
Every good piece,
The thigh and the shoulder.
Fill it with choice cuts;
Take the choice of the flock.
Also pile fuel bones under it,
Make it boil well,
And let the cuts simmer in it.”

                                                                           – Ezekiel 24: 3 – 5

The children of Israel are depicted as pieces of meat that are placed in a pot (Jerusalem) filled with water in the 24th chapter of the book of Ezekiel.  In this passage of scripture, God calls the children of Israel choice meat because he specifically chose them and set them apart – like we are upon salvation.  Now, the purpose of immersing or baptizing the meat (His people) in water is so that it could clean away all the filthiness of the meat. To accomplish full cleansing, the meat was not only immersed fully in water but the fire of the Holy Spirit was also kindled so that all the unsavory parts of the meat – the stinking thinking, bad habits, and unprofitable ways of the people – would be washed out as scum.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God does not leave us alone after our initial cleansing (salvation) but burns away all unsavory parts of our character through the fire of the Holy Spirit (fire) so that we are conformed to the image of Christ.

Yet, the scriptures tell us that God was not pleased with His people for the scum which He had removed from within them was still present with them (Ezekiel 24:6). God said to them: ‘I have cleansed you, but you were not cleansed’ – Ezekiel 24:13.

Today, the image of the meat immersed in a scum filled pot symbolizes the believer who has been cleansed of all filthiness through confession (see 1 John 1:9) but has refused to change his/her mind or turn away from the scum of the past. It is a symbol of a person who has acknowledged (confessed) their sin but has not repented (turned away) from it.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Confession opens the door to repentance – it is not possible for us turn away (repent) from filth if we have not first been cleansed from it through confession.

To truly turn away (repent) from our sins, we must read and meditate on the word of God, for only it has the power to renew our minds and transform the way we think (Romans 12:2). Given enough time studying, we find that we no longer find comfort in the scum that was once embedded deep within us and was so familiar to us. Given enough time, we begin to naturally desire to separate ourselves from all the filth around us. Normally this means breaking some associations and doing away with some things in our lives.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: While we speak our way onto confession (cleansing), we read the word onto repentance (changing).

We have to make sure our mind and body (the exterior of the meat) do not interact with scum despite the truth that our spirit (our interior which is sealed by the Holy Spirit) can no longer be touched by scum once it is burned out from within us. Why? It is because the result of interacting with scum is uncleanliness, and the end of living an unclean life is mountains of trouble. Here is what God has to say to the meat that refuses to be cleansed:

I will not hold back, nor will I spare, nor will I relent; According to your ways and according to your deeds, they will judge you,” says the Lord God – Ezekiel 24:14

Notice that the scripture above says that it is our ways and deeds that judge us (when we do not turn away). The reason behind this is because all judgment has already been poured out on Jesus, hence the only reason we experience judgment (different from trials) is that we refuse to walk with Jesus as our Lord.

Food for Thought: Jesus is your Savior, but have you truly surrendered to Him as your master?

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