It’s a famous hymn, it’s origins dating back to Ireland some 1500 years ago. Believed to have been written by an Irish poet, St Dalian who had lost his sight and his lost vision inspired the opening line – “Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart.”
But does this hymn, this prayer have an application to us today? What does it actually for God to be our eyes?
It simply means that we would see the world as God sees it. That we would take on God’s perspective when we look at our life.
That means taking the facts – that health report, that financial situation, the facts of that relationship and adding God into the equation. It means magnifying God over all our circumstances. It also means looking at others like God would look at them – with love, with compassion and focusing on who they’re called to be not where they are now. It means looking at our life, our world with an eternal perspective.
Rick Joyner once wrote “when we begin with the eyes of our hearts instead of just our natural eyes we not only being to see the things which are eternal but they become more real to us than the things which are temporary.”
The hymn is a prayer––a prayer that Christ will be our vision. That He would also be the wisdom in our lives, our best thought. That His presence would light our days.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
One of my favourite books as a child (and still is today) is The Little Prince. In it is one of my all time favourite quotes
On ne voit bien qu’avec le Coeur. L’essential est invisible pour les yeux.
One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
What is essential is invisible. Love of one person for another, a man for a woman, a mother for her child, a child for their parent, is invisible. While there are external demonstrations of that love through commitments made, words and actions. They are just that – expressions or demonstrations of a heart issue.
Even if I was to have latest technology for a scan or x-ray of my heart, you would see a very clear picture of how well my heart if physically. But you would not see how my heart loves, absolutely loves my husband, my children, my family, my God. A keen, or even not so keen observer of my life, would see where my time and energy goes, hear what I talk about and be able to deduce quite easily those who I love. But they would not be able to deduce how often my thoughts revolve around my family, or how often my thoughts turn to prayer or conversation with God.
What is essential to me, is invisible.
“When we begin with the eyes of our hearts instead of just our natural eyes, we not only begin to see the things which are eternal, but they become more real to us than the things which are temporary.” (Rick Joyner)
Rick Joyner nails it here. The things on this earth will pass, it is eternity that matters. The words of the song “Open the eyes of my heart Lord” come to mind.
“Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart, I want to see you”
This is my heart’s cry.
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” (Intro to Love Actually)
I love this intro to the movie Love Actually. The vibrancy of airports is just so like – reunions, love expressed. 2 days before Christmas I arrived home from a business trip at 1am in the morning. Normally at that very late hour the arrivals hall is empty except for a few very dedicated and a few committed taxi drivers. Not this time though. As I walked through the doors from Immigration into the Arrivals hall I was greeted by a sea of faces – people all ages, all eager to welcome their families / friends home for Christmas. The crowd was just amazing. The atmosphere was amazing. At 1am in the morning love was indeed all around!
In 1967, the BBC asked the Beatles to come up with a song for “Our World” the first global television link. They were asked to come up with a song containing a simple message to be understood by all nationalities. The song – “All you need is love.” It was said “It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message, the nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything.”
And the simplicity of the song’s message is still the same today – all you needs is love – but to that I add God’s love. Life is about learning how to love. Life is full of adventure, triumph, tragedy, and changes that enable us to grow in love and mature in Christ likeness. Being a Christian is not about a ten point plan, a list of dos and don’ts. It is about relationship, relationship with God.
The hallmark of the believers life is not his or her ability to observe certain spiritual disciplines – to go to church regularly, to read the Bible, and to avoid doing bad things. As Bill Johnson says “Christianity was never meant to be a life of disciplines. It was always meant to be a life of passion.”
“We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, that gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” (Pope Benedict)
Have you ever heard the saying “What you behold, you become?”
I believe this statement applies to our relationship with God. If we are in love with God, then out of that love relationship and time spent in His presence will flow a love for humanity and for the world. His heartbeat becomes our heartbeat; His passions become our passion; His priorities become our priorities. Love awakens.
God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. (C S Lewis)
When asked what was the most important commandment, Jesus responded that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength. To love God with everything we have and everything we are is the most important commandment and is our true calling as Christians.
To be secure in who we are we need to lay hold of and keep hold of the revelation of God’s love for you. For that will be what will sustain you through life – through the trials, through the trenches.
The late theologian and author Father Henri Nouwen, used to say that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to God’s voice saying: “You are my beloved son; you are my beloved daughter. I love you with an everlasting love. I have moulded you together in the depths of the earth. I have knitted you in your mother’s womb. I’ve written your name in the palm of my hand and I hold you safe in the shade of my embrace…You belong to me and I belong to you. You are safe where I am. Don’t be afraid. Trust that you are beloved. That is who you truly are.”
The way we live is important but if we live without love, it is meaningless. The reality is, if we love God we will find that the way we live changes – it is much easier to obey out of love. We can only give away what we have. If we are called to represent Jesus to the world around us, we must have regular encounters with His love, because it’s his love that He is trying to communicate to the world through us.
Passionate love should be the substance that primarily characterises us as believers. The most natural thing in the Christian life is to be passionately in love with Jesus and for this blazing love to infuse all that we are an do. The greater thing we were made for – the thing we were meant to give our lives for – is relationship, first with God and then with one another. Our ultimate purpose, which is loving Him and being loved by Him.
Rick Joyner said this “the love of God is not only our greatest treasure. It is the most powerful force that will ever impact the earth.”
Christ did not die for us that God might love us, He died because God already loved us. Love is not the result of redemption, it’s the cause of it. AW Tozer