5 Questions to Test our “Spiritual Sight”:
-Reflections from Inez on her experiences during the mission with New Haven Korean church as she drew parallels between our physical and spiritual acuity:
1. Are we truly aware of how impaired our spiritual sight is?
One of the older patients we saw was a few tables down further from us. He was getting fitted for the glasses he’d been prescribed. The background noise of ongoing conversations throughout the municipal hall suddenly stopped as he began applauding and shouting in astonishment as he looked around him -- clearly seeing everyone around him. He made his way through the crowd walking back to us to shake our hands, exclaiming with a large smile, “UNA GRAN AYUDA!” (A GREAT HELP!)
He had not known just how poor his sight was until he put his new glasses on.
One woman got excited and declared she could see clearly after only being able to read the first 3 lines of the eye chart through a lens stick. I had to tell her the eye exam wasn’t done yet.
Part of poverty is surviving with what you have, especially if you don’t know what you lack. That goes for our spiritual journey as well. Are we walking by faith or are we settling for less than what God wants for us? Are our eyes aligned with how he sees us and the role he’s intended for us?
2. Do we take our vision for granted?
We all learned it in school: Our sight begins with light passing and bending through the different layers of our eyes. Then our retina converts the light into signals through millions of tiny nerve endings and fibers to the optic nerve, which carries them to our brain, allowing us to see images. Astounding, isn’t it?
This passing of light transmitted into an image is the same for how we see spiritually: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Jesus said that whoever has seen him has seen his father. Think about it well. We can come to know God the father, our very maker and the creator of all the universe, through our personal relationship with Jesus. Many of us have learned this in Sunday school as well.
Yet, how mindful and joyful are we for these amazing truths and gifts? Do they compel us to want to see and focus on Jesus more each day? Or is our spiritual walk stagnant?
3. If God were to give us a "spiritual eye exam" right now, how would we do?
Observing one patient after another straining to read the figures on the eye chart made me wonder how I'd do on a spiritual eye chart.
Acts 4:18 says, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
God has given us many spiritual images through scriptures of things that can't be seen physically: The throne of God and of the Lamb, the Fruit of the Spirit, the Amour of God, principalities and powers, God's unfailing love, eternal life.
How well can I perceive them if the layers of my spiritual eyes are obstructed by my clouds of doubt or deposits of sin? Am I nearsighted by focusing too much on my temporal hardships or do I see that God is perfecting me through these struggles for an eternal purpose?
Seeing Through Spiritual Lenses
I recently came across a story of Kawika when he was six years-old. One day in a pueblo, he explained to me that he had hit a snake. It turned out that he and his friends realized the snake had already been dead. Still, frightened and alarmed by this account, I scolded him for attempting to kill the darn creature and lectured him on how he should’ve backed away and avoided it altogether. I began to drill him with questions, finally ending with, “And who were you with anyway?”
“Jesus,” he replied sincerely. Obviously, he was seeing through his spiritual lenses when I wasn’t.
4. Is our spiritual vision blocked or distorted?
One of the eye diseases we kept seeing during the clinics was Pterygium, known as “carnosidad” or fleshiness due to a pinkish tissue growth on the cornea.
This is much like how our own flesh (biblically defined as our sinful nature such as strife, jealousy and outbursts of anger) operates. If left untreated and ignored, it grows and impairs our spiritual acuity. Galatians 5:17 says, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another...”
5. Is our check-up overdue?
Paying attention to the state of the eyes of my heart needs to be a priority if I'm to live in Christ, who desires me to live abundantly.
2 Corinthians 4: 3-4 says, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
What’s blocking your view from seeing Jesus? Unresolved hurts? Hypocrisy? Apathy? Distractions?
Let’s go to Jesus and repent of any faults, complacency and disbelief so that our sight can be restored and our eyes of our heart enlightened. It will allow us to love that difficult person in our life, serve others with compassion, manage crisis well and have our hearts right before God seeing his glory in Jesus.
Then we’ll make a loud applaud and shout out to the Lord, “UNA GRAN AYUDA!”