Introduction – Why People Do What We Do?

 Why We Do What We Do

The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!  Matthew 6:22, 23

The significance of our eyes to the remainder of our bodies may not be an aspect of life we often ponder; however, we, who are blessed with good eyes, tremble at the thought of living in our bodies without our eyes.  Jesus used this analogy to promote His lessons in Matthew, chapter six, on “Why we do what we do?”  One of the wonders of the world may be the astronomical number of us who live out our lives believing our motives for doing what we do perfectly match what we are doing.  Rationalization was used by Adam in his first encounter with God after he broke covenant (Gen. 3:10).

The fact was, Adam knew he had sinned.  From his “bad eye” of rationalization, Adam started the first “blaming game.”  Gen. 3:12.  How great is that darkness?  When people begin to believe their own rationalizations about “why we do what we do,” our blaming game produces sinners who are evil.  This is how the great darkness in Satan’s kingdom develops without truth.  Jesus said, “Simply let your ‘Yes” be “Yes,” and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything else beyond this comes from the evil one.”  Matt. 5:37.

Jesus will work the “good eye/bad eye” phenomenon out for us in different ways in His teachings in Matthew, chapter six.  The first subject He will teach is our motive for our, supposed, “acts of righteousness.”  Matt. 6:1.  In Part IV, we will study lessons on the righteousness of alms giving, prayer and fasting.  Some may want to call these “acts of worship;” however, Jesus called them “acts of righteousness.”  We need to understand how Jesus’ analogy of the “eye and body” relates to our motive for the manner in which we practice our righteousness.

Following these three lessons we will study what Jesus taught about the proper place to store our treasures.  Of course, we already know His answer; however, our interest will be in “what He means.”  How do His principles of life work out in our daily lives in relation to treasures?”  How much stuff is enough?  When is “our stuff” a tool and when is it a treasure?  The answer to these questions will be found in Jesus’ “eye and body” analogy.

Of course, we will want to include “worrying about tomorrow” in the lessons (Matt. 6:34)..  The average person, at one time or another, has had “anxiety attacks” on some level.  We know how disintegrating they can be, and in most cases, how silly they were in retrospect.  Most of these attacks have had to do with the physical needs of life – even when the cupboard is well stocked.  Jesus will assure us that He and His Father are aware of our basic needs.  He will exhort us to think about life that is “more than food.”  Matt. 6:25.  Whether I, as a Christians, am prepared to give more importance to my “self” that will leave this body than my “self” right now will depend upon the condition of our “eyes.”  These are the subjects of the lessons in Part IV.

There are a few issues we need to explore before we enter our study of these lessons:

Our first concern is with the word that has been translated “good” as in “If your eyes are good.”  Matt. 6:22.  (NIV and NAB).  The Greek word is “haplous.”  This is not the Greek word from which “good” is normally translated.  The most common words are “agathos and kalos.”   According to Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, agothos describes that which, being good in its character, is beneficial in its effect.  “Kalos” denotes that which is intrinsically good, and so, “goodly, fair or beautiful.”

“Haplous” has been translated “clear” in Matt 6:22 in the New American Standard Bible, “single” in the KJV and “sound” in the Revised Standard.  According to the general meanings of the words, “agathos” and “kalos,” the word “good” is ineffective to give us the full scope of the word Jesus used.

It is good to have “good eyes;” however, since Jesus is dealing with our motives for practicing righteousness, the word good may be misleading.  The words “single, sound and clear” are better words to help us understand Jesus’ use of His analogy.  It appears that Jesus was thinking about the way we view the full reality of life and then how we approach reality with a single purpose based on God’s will and not ours.  See the following chart.  It is made up of terms Jesus used in Matthew, chapter six.  It may help us make both heaven and earth our “world view.”

A single eye, or mind, versus a double-mind is an attribute of character.  Jesus had Christian character in mind and how it relates to our practicing our righteousness in different aspects of our daily lives and in our services to God.  Christian character was His subject in our study in Part III.

The simple or single eye, translated from “haplous,” is used in a moral sense in Matthew 6:22 and Luke 11:34.  Furthermore, it is said of the eye; “singleness” of purpose keeps us from the snare of seeking a treasure in two places and consequently a divided heart.

“Haplous” is translated “generously” in the NIV, NASB and liberally in the KJV.  It carries the idea of God giving wisdom liberally with singleness of heart, that is, a single purpose in James 1:5.  From “haplous” we find “haplotes” translated “He who gives, with liberality” (NIV) in Rom. 12:8.  In II Cor. 11:3 we have the same word translated “Your minds may somehow be led astray from the sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”  Also see liberality (NIV) in II Cor. 8:2; 9:11, 13.   In Eph. 6:5 and Col. 3:22 a derivative of “haplos” is translated “sincerity.”

If, indeed, Matthew 6:22, 23 is the central principle Jesus applied to the other principles of life He taught in chapter six, we need to know what He meant in His simple analogy about how we see life.  And then how the way we “live in physical/spiritual reality” affects what we do.  The key to understanding “haplous” is in its opposite, “diplous.” It means double (I Tim 5:17).   Double is a good thing when it comes to honor; however, when it speaks of a “double-mind” it speaks of weak character (Jas 1:8).

Jesus’ analogy may be interpreted on the basis of what He taught in Matthew’s gospel in chapter five.  He taught the law of life about the integration of a Christian’s personality and character in order to be “salt and light.”  This integrated person will have a single mind.

A double-minded person is disintegrated in personality and character.  They are unable to move in ways to attain satisfaction for their innate needs because they chose goals for one need that thwarts another one of their needs.  Anxiety is the result.  This weakens character which is the evidence of unhealthy attitudes.  The result is unhappiness.

Our second concern is the paradigm Jesus wants Christians to maintain in order to have “Our whole body full of light.”  Matt. 6:22.   The “single eye” of a person who views reality through the open “door of faith” is the attribute Jesus is promoting in chapter six.  We need to see what He wants us to see.  The following are the terms Jesus used for Christians’ “worldview:”

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