Ayin Tovah (Good/Generous Eye) reminds us that our perspective is our choice, for we choose our interpretation of what we see and experience. So may we be intentional to choose well: to be full of grace, love, and generosity. This reminder is intended as empowerment rather than exhortation. Sometimes we do well, sometimes not, but as long as we remember we are empowered to decide our outlook, we may be intentional in choosing well.
- Matthew 6:22-23 (RSV) “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
- Proverbs 23:7a (AMP) For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…
A post by Meghan Williams from MeghanW.com is connected to this. It’s called “Choose Your Perspective.”
An idiom used in scripture that has stuck with me is that of the “evil eye” or in Hebrew: “ayin hara.” An example of its use can be found in Proverbs 23:6-8 (DARBY) [emphasis mine] “Eat thou not the food of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainties. For as he thinketh in his soul, so is he. Eat and drink! will he say unto thee; but his heart is not with thee. Thy morsel which thou hast eaten must thou vomit up, and thou wilt have wasted thy sweet words.”
The beginning of verse 7 is more familiarly translated as “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (AMP). Essentially, the foundational point we will start with is what we think and believe in our hearts, sets the tone for who we are. In other words, you can say all the kind and generous things you want, but if your heart is unkind and stingy that is the true indicator of your character.
We see this point reiterated in the New Testament when we’re challenged not only not to engage in sexual sin, but not to even lust after another in our heart (Matthew 5:28), clearly indicating our thoughts and heart intent matter. Again in the story of the widow’s mite where even though she gave less because her heart intention was to give all, hers was the greater gift (Luke 21). And of course we’re exhorted to be cheerful givers (2 Corinthians 9:7), again indicating that our heart intentions matter deeply – remember, think on that which is good, perfect, and true. (Philippians 4:8). What is in our heart and mind matters deeply.
Bringing this back around to the “evil eye” (sometimes translated as “stingy”), this has to do with perspective. How someone is looking at things. So in our example above in Proverbs, we see the person with the evil eye giving an outward show of generosity, all the while begrudging every bit taken, which makes what is given ultimately almost a curse. Let’s look at these verses again in the Living Bible paraphrase, “Don’t associate with evil men; don’t long for their favors and gifts. Their kindness is a trick; they want to use you as their pawn. The delicious food they serve will turn sour in your stomach, and you will vomit it and have to take back your words of appreciation for their “kindness.””
And while this scripture is warning us about interacting with others who have an evil eye, my challenge for myself (and now for you) is to check yourself to see if you’re operating in an “evil (stingy) eye.” This could be something as obvious as not trusting God’s provision enough to be generous when He prompts you to sow, or it can be more nuanced like not assuming positive intent when you don’t understand someone else’s actions.
This also holds true with how we see ourselves. Do we belittle ourselves or think badly of ourselves? All of these things indicate operating with an evil eye, which means a perspective shift is needed. What we need is “ayin tovah,” which is Hebrew for the “good eye” – it implies a generosity of spirit that is the opposite of the stingy evil eye.
We get to choose our response to everything that happens to us and around us. It is our choice. We can choose to see what is good, or we can constantly be looking for what will go wrong next. It’s our choice. But we cannot for one moment blame the resulting heart and outlook on someone else. If I choose to be negative and constantly look for offense, the subsequent bitterness and anger are the result of my own choices.
This brings to mind a D4Yart Deck card called “BEAUTY SURROUNDS YOU,” a portion of which reads, “See the beauty in everything, for when you focus your attention on seeing beauty – you will always find it, for it is there even in the bleakest landscape or the moments of hardship, simply look.” This is always true, for even if the only beauty you find in a moment of hardship is the fact that you took a moment to pause and look for beauty – even with everything swirling around you, that discipline is indeed beautiful and worth celebrating.
So challenge yourself to intentionally choose your perspective rather than simply riding the raging waves of our emotions and simply reacting to everything rather than choosing our response. Choose to be generous of spirit and to have a “good eye” rather than an evil (stingy) one. For in doing so you make way for beauty and generosity to surround you, and let’s face it – that is a much sweeter way to live!
Psalm 139:1 (VOICE) O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am;
Beloved, I have seen you and I know who you are. I know you intimately, for everything concerning you, concerns Me. There is nothing about you that is beneath My notice, and in fact I know you far more than you even know yourself. I created you. So trust My understanding of who you are over your own skewed understanding.
Refuse to be the lion looking in a mirror convinced they’re seeing a house cat in the reflection. Understand the strength and power you have been given. To refuse to see the gifts I’ve given you does a disservice to all those around you because it robs them of the beauty of all that you are.
So beloved, see yourself rightly. For it is not pride to acknowledge how you’ve been made, nor is it arrogance to acknowledge the strength you’ve been given. I AM with you and I sustain you – of course you are mighty! My hand upholds you, and in Me you can do all things. So embrace the fullness of all you are.
A prophetic download from Becky Eddy is connected to this. It’s called “Complete Transformation.” This piece was highlighted because of the question embedded within, “Will I let go of the lies and misbeliefs that have bogged me down and held me captive, choosing to set my eyes and heart on Him, letting go of the old identity and soar with Him into the adventure of the new identity?” – in short, am I open to changing my perspective – of extending generosity towards myself? It was also highlighted simply because it exemplifies the dramatic transformation that takes place in us as we align our perspective with the Father’s – His eyes of love.
Recently, God has been speaking to me about the lifecycle of a butterfly. But let’s begin by looking at 2 Corinthians 5:17 (TPT), which reads, “Now if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Everything is fresh and new.”
God is speaking of COMPLETE transformation here. And this connects to the solid, amazing, life changing, invigorating truth that God revealed and astounded me with as I researched the butterfly process. This truth is so wonderful. I never saw the depth of this amazingly beautiful yet grotesque and magnificently designed truth until I researched the butterfly and learned the details of its transformation story.
Though I had read scripture many times about being transformed – and I knew it meant radically changed, I still had trouble believing and applying this truth to myself. Though I understood it to a degree, it remained a lofty, unattainable and out of reach goal for me. I could see it for others, but it remained a clouded partial truth in my heart. But, as God is so faithful to do, He has provided a wonderfully detailed and crystal clear picture of this complete transformation. When He says we are a NEW creation in Christ and the old is gone, that is EXACTLY what He means!
Yet because of my past, my internal beliefs that I was different, made less than, didn’t belong, and wasn’t worthy, discolored and clouded my ability to understand and see the fullness of this truth. In my thinking, transformation applied to everyone else, but was out of reach for me. I thought it rested in me “making” it happen. Thus leaning on my own efforts to transform.
Let me share with you the astounding revelation, about the transformed butterfly. Recently as I have been painting this process on Dyed4you silks named “Transformed,” God has me showing every stage of the butterfly’s transformation, which serves as a reminder, and testifies that in Christ, we are COMPLETELY transformed!
So here is the magnificent yet also horribly gruesome process of the butterfly. It begins as an egg is deposited on a leaf. It is full of potential – in more detail than I had imagined. Right from the start as an egg, long before it becomes a butterfly, God has placed within it some special cells, called imaginal cells. Through the caterpillar stage, these cells are present, but do not grow as they are awash in a juvenile hormone that keeps them from growing.
But the caterpillar develops, and it emerges from the egg with the main job of being an eating machine. As it grows and continues to digest leaves, it molts its skin about 5 times. At the 5th molting, it is a fully grown caterpillar. Then it hangs upside down on a leaf or twig. This final molting is into a hard, shiny chrysalis. Inside the caterpillar’s body hormones release enzymes that actually digest the caterpillar! In a sense, he eats himself! All the parts of the caterpillar disintegrate into a nutrient-rich caterpillar soup. Nothing remains of the caterpillar that we would recognize.
Yet the potential that was placed in the caterpillar from the start as a tiny egg, those special bundles of imaginal cells begin to grow rapidly in the nutrient-rich caterpillar soup. Each of these cells grows into their pre-designed butterfly part – a butterfly leg, tip of a wing, eye, or antennae. Once the cells have matured, the butterfly breaks through the chrysalis in a completely different form! The old is gone and the new has come! The caterpillar has completely transformed to the butterfly.
So the caterpillar was transformed from the inside out and has become a whole different creature – that is truly mind boggling! With the transformation of its body also came a total transformation of its character and behavior.
The new butterfly cannot behave as a caterpillar; for example, it lacks the caterpillar parts to crawl as the caterpillar did – now it has wings. A caterpillar was designed to eat leaves and grow. The butterfly has a completely different mouth, or proboscis, that can’t chew leaves, but can only sip nectar. With the new butterfly form and parts, the butterfly cannot revert to caterpillar behavior.
Scientists say there is evidence that the butterfly may remember some of what it learned as a caterpillar. I did not research that finding any further, but found it to be an interesting parallel for us as new creatures: we may remember some of our past and what we learned through that time, but we are designed for God’s act of complete transformation, changing from the inside out in form, focus, behavior and purpose.
God has placed within us right from the start a potential to be completely transformed – we carry the image of God from our beginning. He has marked us for regeneration. A complete transformation that releases us from the earthbound caterpillar to soaring heights of a butterfly, but it is all in Him. Will we choose to embrace that truth and allow ourselves to be completely transformed by Him? And to personalize this I had to ask myself, “Will I let go of the lies and misbeliefs that have bogged me down and held me captive, choosing to set my eyes and heart on Him, letting go of the old identity and soar with Him into the adventure of the new identity?”
Whereas I thought the transformation depended on my abilities, I see He means a complete and utter transformation that rests in Him. The old has been swept away, and the new order is here. I can choose to leave the earthbound caterpillar perspective and grow from the nutrient rich past. (Experiences, self-image planted by God; truths there, but shrouded in the earthbound beliefs and understanding I might carry from my caterpillar, leaf eating, twig crawling perspective.)
Our transformation in Him leads to so much more! We can soar above the earth-grounded caterpillar view to lofty new perspectives and truths in Him. There is much freedom, joy, revelation and new space here. We are free to float, flutter and fly with Him in new ways. The sense I have from this astounding process is that we are totally entwined with Him as a new creation, full of freedom and new life to explore and live.
So even though the caterpillar stage may prove messy and even painful, our encouragement is to not settle for the life of the caterpillar. God has far more for us if we hold onto Him and allow Him to transform us into who He designed each of us to specially be. Embrace the new butterfly parts and character. Savor the sweet nectar you were designed to feed on; float, flutter and fly even closer to Him on new wings, fly in His freedom of complete transformation.
A portion of our “SPARK IMAGINATION” card in D4Yart Deck 1 is connected to this. It shares, “Be intentional to make time to ‘see’ with your inner vision that which you’re believing will come to pass, and to do so regularly that you might see it manifest.” This reminds us to be intentional in seeing rightly – even in our mind’s eye/imagination. Cultivate a way of ‘seeing’ that supports growth, beauty, expansion, generosity, love, etc. You get to cultivates what you see and how you respond to what you see. Train your reaction to look for the good, to be grateful, to be content even as you remain open and expectant of God doing more.
A Word called “Make Room to Receive Your Double Portion” from Elisa Eaton of Waiting in the Wings is connected to this.
1 Samuel 1:4-5 (ESV) On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.
Just as Elkanah gave Hannah a double portion out of his great love for her, though she bore him no children, so too does My boundless love extend towards you. The place of favor you have in My heart does not need to be continually earned; there is no need, for you are inherently worth loving. My eternal desire is to show My great affections toward you and lavish you in a double portion of blessing—My Spirit and My Kingdom. Will you open your heart to fully receive what I have to give?
Though I am the giver of good gifts, a gift is of no use if it is not accepted. Therefore, I am stirring your innermost being, and knocking upon the doors of your heart. Will you open to Me? Will you make room to receive your double portion?
Expand your mind, beloved. Remove the limits off of Me and off of yourself. Resist the urge to box Me in by determining what you believe I would and can do for you. For through the cross, you’ve seen how far I’m willing to go for you. I hold nothing of Myself back. As you let go of false and limiting beliefs, more of My Kingdom will begin to manifest in your life. For just as the earth draws the rain, so too will your open and believing heart draw the manifestations of My love to you in surprising new ways.
Song of Solomon 5:2 (VOICE) Her: I was sleeping, but my heart was awake when I heard a sound, the sound of my love pounding at the door. Him: Open yourself to me, my sister, my dearest, my sweet dove, my flawless beauty. My head is drenched with dew; my hair is soakedwith the wetness of the night.
A Meditation of the Word called “The Window of Your Heart” from Elisa Eaton of Waiting in the Wings is connected to this.
Matthew 6:22-23 (RSV) “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
I once heard a wise saying that goes something like this, “Whenever you’re feeling negative emotions, it is because you have stopped loving.” Or, as I have come to interpret it, whenever we are in a negative state of mind, it is because we have inadvertently disconnected from the source of love—the heart of God.
We don’t always disconnect from God’s love out of willful sin and rebellion. In fact, I often find my disconnects occur in the subtlest of ways. Usually, I’m going along in life, some minor or major event occurs, and suddenly, my perception of life and God has subconsciously shifted. It often takes me a while to recognize that I’m no longer looking at my life and experiences through the lens of God’s infinite love. Little by little, feelings like fear, shame, guilt, condemnation, and worthlessness begin to creep in and darken my inner man. All in all: I have forgotten that I am loved.
When I do become aware of the shift, I can actually feel it in my heart center. It’s as if the window of my heart has closed and that holy light of love isn’t able to get in. It is reminiscent of Matthew 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (RSV). How we “see” the world, shapes our experience.
In Paleo-Hebrew, the letter hei has been linked symbolically to a window. And there are some rich connections linked to this letter and the themes in Matthew 6. Jewish sages explain that hei stands for revelation, expression, and light. Hei is also a letter that unifies the concept of giving and receiving; it is constructed of the Hebrew letter dalet (symbolic of a poor and humble man) and a “foot” of the letter gimel (symbolic of a rich man.)
Furthermore, the number of hei is five (5). In the creation account, the word “light” is mentioned five times. The Torah is comprised of the Five Books of Moses (which are also the first five books of the Christian Bible). Therefore, the sages suggest that the mention of “light” during the creation account hints at how God permeates and animates all of creation with His infinite light, His Word.
Having these concepts in mind, often the key to shifting our focus from a negative mindset to a positive one requires that we open the windows of our heart so that God’s light can fill our inner man. God’s light is His Word, and His Word is love. When we close off our hearts to receiving love, often it is because we have what I would call a “miserly” perspective of God’s love in a situation. In other words, we unconsciously put limits on His infinite love. When this shift occurs, we need fresh revelation, an “ah-ha” moment where we can see our life through God’s eyes.
Do you perceive God is growing impatient with you? Remind yourself that “love is patient.” When you make a mistake, do you feel like God is mad and frustrated? Do you think He’s adding that mistake to a long list with your name on it? Remind yourself that love “is not easily angered” and “keeps no record of wrongs.” Remind yourself that God abounds in love and generously pours it out upon His beloved children.
When you find yourself feeling disconnected from the Father’s love, pause and remind yourself of what His love looks like. Return to the revelation of love as expressed through God’s Word. Take a moment, to open the window of your heart and let the light in.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
The name of your silk is Deserving of Dignity. The colors in it are: periwinkle representing tranquility, blue violet representing honored, kelly green representing vibrant / flourishing, sage representing tender life / regrowth, and white representing purity. And the word connected to it begins with this which also is connected to the heart of this piece: “One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions for the word “dignity” is “ the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed.” The beginning whisper for this prophetic download was simply that word – dignity – and a strong sense of its recipient being deeply worthy of it. Deeply worthy of being and feeling worthy. Deeply worthy of being and feeling honored. Deeply worthy of being and feeling esteemed. God says this about you. Selah – pause and let that sink in. Let it reverse any words spoken by voices indicating anything otherwise. You are worthy, honored, and even esteemed.”
Father, thank You that You esteem us. Thank You for so clearly demonstrating what generosity of spirit looks like, for You see us through eyes of mercy and Your love and grace know no bounds. Thank You for seeing us rightly and for loving us enough to want us to do the same. May we have ayin tovah, a good and generous eye, both towards ourselves and towards others around us.