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Tie a Yellow Ribbon

Categories: Glorifying God

Glorifying God devotions by Pastor Chris Chia

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:22-24a).

“Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” was a massive hit song by Dawn in 1973. The song is about a former convict who has “done his time” but is uncertain if he will be welcomed home by his disappointed spouse.

He writes to ask his love to tie a yellow ribbon around the “ole oak tree” in front of their house if she wants him back. If he doeimg-20160410-wa0008.jpgsn’t see a ribbon, he will remain on the bus, accept her understandable rejection of a loser and move on.

Fearing the worst, he asks the bus driver to look on his behalf. The driver and entire busload bursts into rapturous joy as they see 100 yellow ribbons around the tree! There is a 2nd Chance for the sinner.

This is a photo of some of our church’s cool Prisons’ Ministry team. They minister at Changi Prison weekly. Underneath those sunnies are men with an undying love and deep compassion for unfortunate ones whose lives have been derailed by drugs or crime. They are God’s “2nd Chance” or “Yellow Ribbon” foot soldiers.

Yet, despite their sincerity to help such ex-convicts, the work is not easy. It is often “three steps forward, two steps backwards”. The initial euphoria of change is often met with stubborn backsliding into old friends and habits. Until, by God’s grace, the salvation penny drops. And they experience the freedom and fulness of serving one master – God alone.

How do we get into such derailing and destructive addictions in life?

Jesus diagnoses it as an eye problem. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

In short, we become what we see. Let us look out for the 3Ds of our eye disease: Distraction, Delusion and Destruction.

DISTRACTION: Our eyes are the entry point to our body. The rest of our God-given bodies are shielded by skin to simply prevent light from entering. If you have “good or healthy eyes”, then your body will not be distracted. But if we have unhealthy eyes, which keep staring at the wrong objects, we will be distracted.

I was driving at the Gold Coast once and came up to a roundabout. It had 5 or 6 huge signages. I have never seen such a cluttered roundabout. I could literally feel my eyeballs darting to read the multiple signages! I was momentarily paralysed by the visual distraction – which exit or route should I take?

So often in life, when we have so many competing objects to look at, we lose our way. These are not fatal attractions, like the hit movie, but fatal distractions. We must confess and repent of our fatal distractions from God.

DELUSION: Worst still, according to Jesus, if “the light within us is darkness, how great the darkness”. If we convince ourselves that our “diseased eyes are healthy eyes”, then we are deluded! We must beware spiritual delusion. We will be blinded by this.

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”, said Helen Keller. She should know. She was physically blind but had such deep spiritual enlightenment into our human condition. Many of us are the reverse. We have physical sight but no spiritual insight.

Do you have healthy or diseased eyes?

We can only honestly face that by asking this question: “What are we allowing our eyes to look upon each day?” If we spend most of our time staring at “stuff” of what we will eat, drink and wear in both the virtual and real world – from the hottest gals or guys to the latest gadgets or gizmos – then our lives will be increasingly stuffed up.

Many of us may not have gone to prison but we are just as enslaved as we are led by our eyes to behold pleasures, possessions, people, positions and power that are not good for us. We suffer the same DNA of spiritual delusion.

DESTRUCTION: Finally, what does Jesus mean by: “No one can serve two masters?” In Jesus’ world, the power of the master over the slave was rather absolute. It was 24hrs/7 days. Slaves were at the beck & call of their masters 24/7.

So, Jesus is not teaching us about the inconsistency of God and mammon but the impossibility of serving of 2 masters! A slave with 2 masters is an oxymoron. It is a mutually exclusive choice. “You cannot serve God and mammon!”

A Humble Confession: If we insist on being stubborn, then there may not be a “2nd chance” or “yellow ribbon”. Our distracted eyes and deluded hearts will rush headlong into destruction as we choose the kingdom of self over the kingdom of God repeatedly.

Jesus offers us an alternative: That our eyes are filled with a vision of King Jesus and the kingdom of heaven he ushers in. This is where our eyes, treasures and hearts are rightly directed to God and his glory. And we reach the height our humanity.

God has more than tied a yellow ribbon for our ultimate 2nd Chance. He has “hung” his Son on the Cross that we might be set free from Satan, forgiven of sin and live as the children of God.

A Desperate Prayer: “Father, forgive us when we insist on calling our bad eyes, good. Forgive us for staring at the wrong pleasures, possessions, people, positions and power that are not good for us. Help us to gaze upon your Son to behold a new vision, have a new heart and live a new life. Amen.”

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Author: Christopher Chia

Converted at Billy Graham Crusade in 1979 while studying in Sydney, Australia. Former journalist. Repented. Now preaching Good News!