Christ in Me, Christian Life, Holy Spirit, Hypocrite, Indwelling Spirit, People Pleasers, Tree of Life, Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
Hello and welcome-or welcome back-to Renaissance Woman!
I am running a bit late this week but I did get a post completed! I had thought I would take a deeper look at the word “wicked” in scripture but then saw some fascinating things in the NT about faith I wanted to look at as well. And then, there have been so many avenues of study opened up to me through my study of Isaiah 45:7, I wasn’t sure which one to pursue first. I’ve known my next study was going to be on the full armor of God as described in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (See Ephesians 6: 10-18) and, as I started to put together notes this this week’s post, I realized everything I was looking at would be explored as I looked at the various pieces of armor. Perhaps I should just wait to post until deeper into my Armor of God study…but then, I read something interesting in Ephesians Chapter 6. The word as found in The New King James Version of the Bible is “eyeservice” found in verse 6.
“Eyeservice” caught my attention because of my study of the word “evil”. I had looked at the Hebrew and Greek words for “evil” during my study of Isaiah 45:7 and the Hebrew word translated “evil” is ra. Ra is spelled Resh (ר) Ayin (ע). Resh is a picture of a bent head or one bent under a heavy burden and the Ayin is the picture of the eyes. So, those who do evil are those who allow their actions to be guided by what they have determined is right in their own eyes.
The Greek word translated as “eyeservice” is ophthalmodouleia (G3787)and is a bit of a tongue twister. It’s a combination word of opthalmos meaning “the eye” and douleia meaning “slavery” or “bondage”. This Greek word appears twice in scripture: here in Ephesians 6:6 and then again in Colossians 3:22 where Paul writes, “Servants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not only when their eyes are on you, as pleasers of men, but in simplicity of purpose (with all your heart) because of your reverence for the Lord and as a sincere expression of your devotion to Him” (Amplified).
At first glance, the word ophthalmodouleia doesn’t have any relation to “evil”. The two passages where this word appears does seem to be speaking about a bondage to another’s opinion rather than doing what is right on one’s own eyes. Since the two passages are similar, I am focusing on Ephesians 6:6 and Jonathan Mitchell’s New Testament renders the passage as, “not in accord with eye-service (or; in line with slavery to the eyes [of folks watching]; or = doing it only when being watched) as folks desiring to please men, but rather as slaves of Christ, constantly doing (performing; producing) the will and intent of God-from out of [the] soul (=with the whole inner being; mind, will, emotion, life-force; or: = spontaneously)”.
The Amplified is a smoother read: “Not in the way of eyeservice-as if they were watching you-and only to please men; but as servants (slaves) of Christ, doing the will of God heartily and with your whole soul.” Paul’s admonition is to not behave one way when another person is watching you and another when they are not. In other words, Paul is telling us not to be hypocrites. And yet, I do see a deeper meaning in this passage.
In June of 2020, I was in prayer asking not only that the eyes of my understanding be enlightened but that I would see the Holy Spirit guiding me into all truth. The answer I received was “the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. I did a word study on Genesis 2:9 but, once I’d completed it, I wasn’t sure where to go next. I didn’t need to worry: the Holy Spirit was about to guide me. I began hearing my Bible Teacher’s mention the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and then they weren’t just mentioning it but teaching on it. I also would just happen to come across books and other writings teaching on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as well as the Tree of Life. Since June of 2020, I have come to see that there are two ways to live. We can live our lives out from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil which means we have ourselves at the center of our lives and determine for ourselves what is good and evil. We can live our lives out from the Tree of Life which is the very life of the risen and ascended Jesus Christ made real to us through the Indwelling Spirit.
I do not see Ephesians 6:6 (or the passage in Colossians) as Paul only telling his listeners not to be hypocrites. I see this passage as Paul urging his listeners, and us today, to live our lives out from the very life of Jesus Christ no matter what position we find ourselves in and no matter what work might be placed in our hands to do.
I hear the word “secular” a great deal. I get what people are saying but may I suggest there is no such thing as “secular” where a Believer is concerned? Our very bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are One Body with Jesus Christ, partakers of His divine nature and co-creators with Him (2 Peter 1:4, 1 Corinthians 3:9). This is our very identity. This is not something we pick up and adorn ourselves with on a Sunday morning but then lay aside when we go to work or to school or whatever occupies our time on a day to day basis. Everything we do we do unto the Lord and with Him because He is in us.
That is what I saw in Ephesians 6:6. I suppose “eyeservice” does have some relation to “evil” because a person who is living for the approval of others and is acting accordingly has determined it is good to do so. In that sense, that person is doing what is right in his or her own eyes. Let us not live that way. Let us live-and live spontaneously-with our whole inner being: mind, will, emotion, out of the Christ. Let us each one live joyfully knowing that it is no longer we who live, it is Christ who lives in us.
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptures are quoted from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
The Comprehensive Study Bible, The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984
Mitchell, Jonathan Paul, MA, The New Testament, Harper Brown Publishing, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2019
Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville Tennessee, 1990
Walker, G. Allen, Koine Greek Textbook, Volume IV-V, 2014-2017
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