Having an Eye of Faith – Scripture Chain

I’m intrigued by the concept of having an eye of faith. I think that it interests me so much because it has been hard for me to develop, yet I know that in many facets of our lives, visualizing ourselves accomplishing our goals will help us to see them through.

Can you imagine yourself reaching your goal – whether it is losing weight, getting a certain job, writing a novel, winning a golf tournament – do you see yourself obtaining that which you are working for? Chances are, if you can’t visualize it, then you won’t be able to accomplish it.

This concept holds true for obtaining eternal life. The Lord asks us to develop an eye of faith. Doing so will help us to achieve our ultimate goal of eternal life.

So – here’s the scripture chain.

Matthew 6:22 – Look to God

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” – Matthew 6:22
Notice, especially, the footnotes for the word “single”:
1. This is a Greek Idiom for healthy, sincere, without guile.
2. JST explains that the phrase “to the glory of God” should proceed included.

This scripture teaches us what we should be envisioning with our eye of faith: our eye needs to be single – to the glory of God, then our whole body will be full of light. This is the vision we must see with our eye of faith. Then we will be blessed.

The Lord doesn’t ask us to imagine ourselves keeping the commandments. He doesn’t ask us to imagine ourselves getting some kind of calling or even making a covenant. He tells us to envision His glory. It is the glory of God that will fill our souls with light and enable us to achieve our goal. Of course we need to keep the commandments and make covenants, but that should not be the focus of our eye of faith.

This makes sense to me. Sometimes, I forget to think of the glory of God. I forget about His power and mercy. I forget about His love and grace. Instead, I begin to focus too much on my flaws, then I get overwhelmed by the idea of perfection. I become discouraged and distracted. If we focus, instead, on the glory of the Lord, then our beings will be filled with light and hope. He will help us overcome our natural weakness and flaws. We will be able to see through to the time when our eye of faith is realized.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:68 – Be Sanctified

“Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.” – Doctrine and Covenants 88:68

Here we learn that in order to have our minds become single to God, then we need to sanctify ourselves. To be sanctified means to be made pure. This happens as we repent, are cleansed in the waters of baptism, and continually work to keep the commandments and renew our covenants. As we keep our eye on God and work to become more like Him by being sanctified, then there will be a time when we do see him.

If we think of this scripture on very practical terms – as far as having an eye of faith concerning other goals – then I think that we apply this scripture to mean that we need to do what it takes to achieve our goal. If the goal is to run a marathon, for example, we can’t simply imagine ourselves crossing the finish line. We must also “sanctify” ourselves, by waking up early, running, eating right, signing up for the marathon, and logging in the miles. As we do this, not only are we are better able to keep our eyes on the ultimate prize: of crossing the finish line, but we will actually do it, too!

Acts 7:55-56 – Look Steadfastly

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” – Acts 7:55-56

This scripture is part of the account of Saint Stephen. Notice the phrase in the quoted verses, “[he] looked up steadfastly into heaven.” Stephen was steadfast in his vision. I have a feeling that Stephen spent his entire life looking to Heaven. He didn’t happen to finally have an eye of faith at the end of His life. Stephen had looked to heaven, steadfastly, for a long time and eventually saw – literally – what he had seen with his spiritual eyes for so long.

Not only do we have to look, and be sanctified, but we have to be steadfast. We have to maintain an eye of faith even when the vision we have seems completely impossible.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:38 – Seek the Lord

“And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.” – Doctrine and Covenants 101:38

Here we learn that sometimes we’ll have to seek the face of the Lord, and we may even need to be patient.

I forget this so much. It isn’t that the Lord’s face is hard to find, but it can be when I’m not being spiritually tuned into Him. When I really think about it, the Face of the Lord can be seen in everything around me. Have I ever mentioned how beautiful it is where I live?

This is where I live!

A few nights ago, I was busy in my house, getting ready for dinner, etc, when I happened to notice the sunset. Sunsets in Arizona are pretty much amazing. I decided to turn off the stove for a minute so I could go outside and enjoy the winds, the oncoming monsoon, and the amazing sunset.

I realized how often I go without taking much notice of the world around me – because I’m so focused on what is happening before my eyes. I don’t always seek the beauty of the world around me. I don’t always seek the face of the Lord in His creations and my blessings. So often, my little pathetic life is getting in the way of the bigger picture I need to have.

We may know that we need to have an eye of faith and look to the Glory of God, but there are times when this “vision” isn’t so apparent. We may need to seek His glory. Often, seeking Him isn’t so difficult – it is just a matter of turning down the distractions. No matter how you do it, we need to seek. If we do, we will find Him.

Alma 36:22, 28 – Reaching our Goal

“Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.

And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever,…” – Alma 36:22, 28

In this final scripture, Alma (the younger) is teaching his son shortly before His departure from mortality. He relates the experience of his conversion to his son, Helaman. He had endured the pains of his own sins, then he felt the joy of repentance. After repenting, Alma caught a glimpse – of God sitting on his throne, the beauty of the angels praising and singing. Alma longed to be there.

This vision became the picture Alma saw in his eye of faith.

We can study Alma’s life after his conversion. He spent his time devoted to the Lord. He was sanctified through keeping the commandments and making and keeping covenants. He was steadfast and didn’t waver once he had covenanted with God. He sought the Lord diligently and with patience through prayer and fasting. Because of Alma’s eye of faith, he was, eventually, able to know that he would be able to go where his soul longed to be.

How do you keep an eye of faith? How has having an eye of faith helped you to get through trials and difficulties in life? What are your favorite scriptures that teach us about having an eye of faith?

***
Read this blog post for more information on marking scripture chains in your scriptures.
or
Check out my free eBook Getting More from the Scriptures: Techniques and Projects for Effective Scripture Study.

Not Easily Provoked – Acts 17:13

I am annoyed with myself today. Actually, I’ve been annoyed with myself for the better part of a week. I’m annoyed because I’m annoyed. (Probably doesn’t make much sense). I am frustrated with myself for getting frustrated with other people.

(A different direction for a second)
When I was in college, I had this institute teacher – Brother Ron Buhrley – He was awesome. (if you are reading this and live in the Ogden area, go to the Weber State University Institute and take a class from him!) The reason I thought he was so awesome is because he was so uplifting. He listened to people, remembered everyone’s anem, and he had a testimony of the gospel. He was such an inspiring teacher. I took several classes from him, and still can remember specific things I learned. Anyways – the thing that I think I liked so much about him and his classes is that he seemed to have this love for people. When you spoke with him you felt better about yourself, and pretty much everything else. He was optimistic and radiant. I wanted (and still want) to be just like that.

So, for years – at least ten, maybe twelve, I have wanted to be like Brother Buhrley – happy, uplifting, and able to bring out the best in others. This is really hard for me. I don’t think that I’m naturally that way. I mean, I feel like I’m a positive person, but I let little things get to me. Lately, it’s been worse than usual.

So…today, I read the following scripture:

” 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.” – Acts 17:13

In this verse, I notice that the Jews were specifically looking for instances to undermine Paul’s mission and “stir up the people.”

I think that there are times when I get “stirred up.” In fact, that’s why I’m so annoyed right now. I have been stirred up – and it seems like I can’t stop stewing. LAME! My stewing causes me to take on a more negative persona and spin on everything in my life. I feel like, when I talk to people, this negativity brings them down. (not Brother Buhrley-like at all!)

Additionally, when I think of the phrase, “and stirred up the people.” I am reminded of charity, and how one of her qualities is, “not easily provoked.” (See Moroni 7:45, 1 Corinthians 13:5). So – what strikes me here is, if I have charity, then I will not be stirred up – even when someone or something tries to provoke me.

That’s the key, I guess. I don’t need to be annoyed at myself or at anyone else. Instead, when I feel a little “stirred up,” angry or provoked, I can, instead, try to understand the person or situation better, and love them with a Christlike love, instead.

I will also refrain from rehashing the offender’s words or circumstances over and over again – which is me stirring myself up again and again, and removing myself further and further from the goal of obtaining charity.

I’m grateful for the gospel, and that it offers solutions to my petty problems. It is hard for me to be charitable. Sometimes I want to prove that I’m not a dummy, or that I’m a capable human being. However, charity, like the savior, has nothing to prove. It is meek. And it completely goes against the natural man. I just pray for grace, that Heavenly Father will help me figure out ways to be meek, kind, and charitable, so that I won’t get stirred up, so that I will be more like Bro. Buhrley – uplifting and kind.

What do you do when you get “stirred up?” How do you remain meek and charitable?

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