Read: Psalm 119:18 |
Last week, I started a series titled “Spiritual Vision – See what God Sees”. This week we will review the spiritual vision dysfunction of blindness.
Physically, the lack of sight brings challenges to about 4% of the world according to a 2012 study by the World Health Organization [World Health Org link]. Spiritually, blindness is not the actual lack of sight, but it is the lack of insight into what God is doing in our midst.
Saul, before he became the Apostle Paul, is an example of having the lack of insight into what God was doing. Acts 9 tells the story of Saul being an early persecutor of the church. He believed in the Lord God, but not in Jesus as the Messiah. The Pharisees, in their narrow-minded interpretation of the first five books of the Bible, honestly believed the disciples blasphemed by proclaiming Jesus to be the Son of God. Blasphemy was punishable by death!
Saul, who was blind to the truth of God, successfully hunted down the early church followers based on the Pharisee’s misguided beliefs. Thank God, Saul did not stay blind because he was good at his job. Instead, on his way to persecute more Christians in Damascus, a bright light flashed and physically blinded him. A voice from heaven spoke to him and Saul accepted Christ and asked “What shall I do, Lord”. Blind Saul’s spiritual blindfold fell and revealed a farsighted Paul.
What changed for Saul on that road to Damascus? The first five books of the Bible had not changed. His physical vision did not change. Instead, God opened his understanding as Paul surrendered his heart causing his spiritual vision and perception to change.
In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul writes that the minds of the non-believers are blinded. God allows them to see salvation, but they cannot understand our faith until they accept Him as Savior. A June 2011 Christianity Today magazine study stated that 77% of the world is spiritually blind. A blind non-believer can live a lifetime at the doorstep of accepting Christ. Until they trust and believe, they are blind.
Rose Crawford illustrates this point of being at the doorstep and blind. Rose was blind for fifty years. Then she underwent eye surgery in an Ontario hospital. “I just can’t believe it,” she gasped, as the doctor lifted the bandages from her eyes. For the first time in her life, she saw a beautiful world of form and color. It turns out however, that Rose was unnecessarily blind for 20 years because of her choices at the doorstep. You see, the surgical techniques to correct her vision had been around, but she never sought them out. The doctor said, “She just figured there was NOTHING that could be done about her condition.” Just as the surgery for Rose was available, salvation is always available if we just open our hearts to him, then we will see.
Just like Saul, Blind believers can be a speed bump to growth in many Churches. A blind believer may have a “religiously ridge Saul” or a “doubting Thomas” approach to life. Their participation may slow growth to a crawl because they have trouble buying into the faith components of the Church’s vision. These believers have not fully bought into God’s program or maybe they have not fully let go of their old habits. Their faith is a “show me” faith; they tend to believe when they see results.
Simon Peter in a letter in I Peter 2:1 tells us a cure for the blind believer. We should rid ourselves of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of any kind. By following his advice, we will grow. He goes on to tell us to “make every effort to add to your faith…” Then he provides a list of habits and disciplines we should follow.
If we are growing, then we will never be blind. Thus, the fight to see is a fight to believe. We need to help each other see! As Helen Keller, who was probably the most recognized blind person who has ever lived, once said when asked, “What would be worse than being born blind?” Her answer was, “To have sight without vision.”
A. Create a list of family, friends and associates you feel may be spiritually blind.
B. Self-examination: Are there areas in my life where I am spiritually blind? Areas where I feel I have to take over because I cannot trust God?
A. Using the list created above, develop a prayerful approach to share Christ with each person.
B. Self-examination: Pick an area of spiritual blindness for you and pray for help and guidance. Discuss with a prayer partner or mentor a plan for growing past this issue.
A. Share your testimony with someone on your list this week. Show how you were blind but now you see. Keep a prayer log as you continue to pray and share with them. Record the date they accept Christ.
B. Self-examination: Apply your new awareness and learn to trust God more.