Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Problem Of Spiritual Blindness

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be blind for life. I can close my eyes and have a moment of understanding but I also live with the reality that all I need do is open my eyes and I will see my smiling child's face, or the beauty of the sunrise, or the words of my book, or the colours of the day. I cannot know what it is to live with the reality of living in blindness to the wonderful sights of this world. But far worse is the reality of living with spiritual blindness.

Unfortunately spiritual blindness is in epidemic proportions in the Church. We sit next to people every Sunday who have no more than a surface understanding of Christ. They live with a shallowness of faith that perpetuates their blindness while they have no clue, thinking themselves to be mature and in good standing. They may get angry a lot, perhaps even abusive, constantly make decisions to their own profit, focus everything on them, see everything with themselves in the center and experience life according to their emotions, but in their own eyes they are okay because they go to church.

Due to the shallowness of their faith they go no further than adopting the moral benefits of the Scriptures. They even adopt Jesus' teachings and do their best to apply it to their lives. They do it without ever experiencing Jesus himself. It is possible to change things by living on the surface of faith, holding onto a shallow explanation. Behaviours can be changed by human will, we can conform to our environment, we can speak boldly, testify to Jesus' greatness and yet not possess Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 16 we find the disciples in a boat with Jesus. He has just feed the crowd of four thousand and has dealt with the religious leaders who demanded a sign from him. The disciples were talking among themselves because they just realized that they had forgotten to bring bread. At that moment Jesus started to warn them against the yeast of the religious leaders. We read this:

And they reasoned among themselves saying, "It is because we have taken no bread." (v. 7)

It had nothing to do with the bread they had forgotten and everything to do with the mindset and teaching of the spiritual leaders of the day. Jesus was warning them to stay clear of such nonsense because the leaders thought that by following strict teaching on the Law and traditions that they would earn their salvation. But the disciples were too dull spiritually to understand. They reasoned among themselves that it must have something to do with the bread they had forgot to bring. Even though they were taught by Jesus, hung out with him, saw all the miracles, they could not get past the surface understanding. They did not have faith, yet.

It is possible to gain all kinds of moral benefits from Scripture but that isn't the point. The point is to possess and be possessed by Jesus. Salvation requires faith and faith is a gift from Father. Only faith will allow us to go to the depths of the Word. Only faith will give us eyes to see the spiritual behind everything in our day. Only faith lifts us above the physical to dwell in the spiritual. Only faith allows us to see, hear and speak with Jesus.

The Word is not about morality although it contains much of it. The Word is about revealing the heart of Yahweh, his love for us, and his great plan to rescue us. The morality is a fruit of this great revelation, that, as we accept Jesus, we are transformed into a child of Yahweh and the fruit of morality is produced as we take off our old garments and put on the new. I always found that the Spirit spoke the truth with such eloquence through Paul in Romans 12:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

The rebirth of our mind, so that we can see, understand and accept the will of Father. The death of spiritual blindness is the embrace of the faith that Father gives to us as a gift. We cannot generate faith on our own, we do not possess the capability. If we ask for it Father will provide it and then we will dive past the shallowness of understand and find great wealth in the depths of faith.

Do not satisfy yourself with the shallow understanding of conformity but instead have your eyes fully opened to the wonders of the transformation Father desires for you through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. Do not find satisfaction in your blindness but desire Jesus with all your heart. Seek his face and you will find him. Step into the light and the darkness will fall away. You will see, you will understand and you will be glad for it. The only problem is that the blind seldom realize they are blind.

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