22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Matthew 6:22-23 NKJV

The Dog Days

Have you ever heard of the “dog days” of summer? I’m not sure how familiar that saying is to those that don’t live in the south or where it doesn’t stay hot for too long. The dog days are given to the hottest period of summer. During these stretches, you’ll notice that dogs don’t like to do too much when it gets hot outside. The outdoor dog conserves its energy and typically finds somewhere to lay down; it hardly feels like getting up to bark at anything during those hot summer days. So, the dog days typically includes a period of sluggishness (laziness) and little to no activity.

I first heard this phrase during a Braves baseball game when I was a little kid. “Dog days” is a common phrase that you’ll hear in baseball. The dog days of baseball are talked about after the season hits the all-star break of the “halfway” point of the season. The dog days of baseball, they say, separate the men from the boys and the winners from the losers. The winning teams in baseball don’t typically struggle during the dog days of summer, but the losing teams find it very hard to play baseball with any enthusiasm or energy.

I say all of this to describe the dog days of summer because I believe all of us physically hit a period in the year where we develop an “I don’t feel like it” attitude. I believe that all of us go through some dog days at some point in time in the year. There are times when it seems like the days take forever to go by – they are extremely long! For example, when you’re not in the dog days, you can get to work and it’ll be time for your lunch break in no time! However, when you’re in your dog days, you can get to work, look at the clock, and it seems like the hands on the clock just aren’t moving! During these kinds of days, we become so sluggish and unenthusiastic that we just don’t feel like putting up with much of anything! Are you currently going through some dog days?

In our responsive reading for today (Matthew 6:22-34), we see that Jesus talks about things I feel can lead to our dog days. Jesus talks about what can catch our eyes (Matthew 6:22-23) – we’ll get more into this in a moment. Jesus then talked about our love for wealth and riches (Matthew 6:24). Lastly, Jesus talked about how our love for these things can lead to us worrying about tomorrow; worrying about what we’ll eat, drink, and wear (Matthew 6:25). I preached a sermon a few months back about our worrying habit, so I’m not going to get into that today. I will say that these things certainly do lead to life becoming straining, stressful, and tiring,

Life is very stressful during those dog days when it seems like the growl of your stomach is louder and lasts a lot longer than usual; it’s stressful when you’re worried about how you’re going to put food on the table for you and your family. Life can be very straining when you’re worried about what you’ll drink, whether they are going to shut off a utility because of a bill. Life can be tiring when you’re unable to purchase something that you actually need because you’re having to pay all of those bills and loans. In those dog days, you hope that nobody notices that you’ve been wearing a certain shirt for the past 3 to 5 years, or a certain per of pants just as long. These things begin to take their toll, they add up, and I tell you that these things, while they may affect you physically can also affect you spiritually. Life, especially in those dog days, has a way of weighing on you and bearing down your spirit. So, not only are you going through dog days physically but you are also having dog days spiritually. The question now is, how do we get through these such days. In these days, we need a “pick-me-up” that will help us make it through these days where we just don’t feel like it.

The Pick-Me-Up

In these days, when we are looking for a pick-me-up, I tell you that we must be very careful. In those dog days, we must be careful because it is easy for us to be tempted to stray from the way of the Lord. As believers, we know that the Lord is going to provide, however, for many of us the wait seems like it’s forever during our dog days. We want a blessing, and we want the blessing so badly that we’ll become desperate that we will start seeing a blessing in absolutely anything.  I say again, be careful to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

In baseball, since I used it as an example before, during the dog days, teams become desperate for a win. Some teams are competing to go to the playoffs while other teams are competing solely out of pride. So, teams become desperate for wins and they will do anything (hopefully without cheating) to win a baseball game. I tell you that the same thing happens to many of us believers during our spiritual dog days; we get so desperate for a win (a blessing) to get us out of a “losing streak” (slump). However, I tell you, again, that we must be careful of seeing a “win” (a blessing) where they don’t actually exist!

Let’s take a look back at our key verses for today. Jesus tells us (Matthew 6:22-23) that the eyes are the “lamps” of the body. There’s an old saying that we are all familiar with that tells us that the eyes are the “window to the soul” – this passage of scripture is where that saying comes from. Notice what Jesus says about the eye that is good (v.22):

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

Matthew 6:22 NKJV

So, Jesus says, “if the eye is good, the whole body is full of light.” You see, we the believer, are to be lamps (lights) in this world (Philippians 2:15). Why? Because our eyes have seen the glory of God through Christ Jesus – we have believed in the True Light and walk in that True Light (John 1:6-9). Even in the dog days, our eyes should stay focused on Him and our light should continue to burn fervently (bright and hot). Now, take a look at what Jesus says about the eye that is bad.

But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Matthew 6:23 NKJV

Jesus says, “if the eye is bad, the whole body will be full of darkness! No darkness should ever come out of the true believer of the Lord. Therefore, we must be careful of what we lay our eyes on – especially in those dog days.

We must be careful of not following after a win that is not truly a win, but something that is completely worthless. The sad problem that we are facing nowadays is that some believers want to win so badly that they’ll take a win from absolutely anybody. We must be careful because sometimes it could be the devil handing out the “win”, and I tell you that no good thing ever comes from Satan. We cannot be so desperate that we will take what the devil have as a “win” (a blessing).

Sadly, many believers’ eyes are being fooled nowadays. Remember on the cartoons how the cartoon characters could be out in the middle of the desert but believe they saw a pool of water when it was actually a mirage? They would go run and jump extraordinarily high in the air only to land face first into the sand! We are living in the dog days of the world, I tell you. Many people see a mirage and they’re running after the mirage, jumping high in the air, but no water is waiting for them below – only cement. Why are they chasing after the mirage? Because they are so desperate for a “win” and the devil is stroking that ego, and they foolishly follow after that devil believing they have a “win”. We must not be so desperate that our eyes can be fooled into seeing something worthless and believing that it is a blessing. The ultimate danger in these dog days is to believe something is a pick-me-up when it will do nothing but let you down and put you down.

The truth is that God is the only pick-me-up we need to pick us spiritually and physically. God is the pick-me-up! You see, we need Gods Holy Spirit these days! In these dog days, in our days of desperation, we need the Lord’s Holy Spirit to revive our spirit – to pick us up! The psalmist sang (Psalms 119:37), “turn my eyes from looking at worthless things and revive me in Your way.” The way that the psalmist wanted to be revived in is the Lord’s way. I tell you that this ought to be every believer’s prayer. We should pray to the Lord to turn us from a worthless way and turn us to His way – revive us in His way!

When we have grown sluggish and lost all enthusiasm, we should cry out to God, “revive me in Your way!” Let us turn our eyes away from worthless things, those mirages, and turn them to God. I tell you that God will revive us physically and spiritually. The Lord’s way is not worthless but profitable to those that wait on Him. If you are going through some dog days, I hope that this sermon has been a pick-me-up for you. If you are feeling stressed, strained, and tired, I hope that this sermon has been a pick-me-up for you. I know that the Lord, my God, will lift you up physically and spiritually. This world is in some dog days and in the country, the start of August would be the start of revival season; they would shout, “it’s revival time!”  I am shouting that it is time for a revival! I feel that it’s time for a revival in this world; it’s time for the world to conform back to the Lord’s way.

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