I put on my first pair of corrective lenses in the seventh grade. While I can’t remember if headaches or blurry chalkboards prompted my parents to take me to the optometrist, I do remember being thrilled that my exam resulted in a pair of glasses. For the last twenty-five years, my glasses are the first thing I reach for each morning. Otherwise, everything is fuzzy. Crisp vision motivates me.
The National Eye Institute says the most common type of vision problems are refractive errors. “Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina” (NEI). This sounds a lot like our Christian walk. Distractions, sin, even good things like ministry can prevent The Light from reaching our heart.
In a crazy, chaotic world, how do we keep our eyes focused on God?In a crazy, chaotic world, how do we keep our eyes focused on God? #FridayFiveClick To Tweet
Nearsightedness: objects up close are clear, while far away objects appear blurry.
I am nearsighted. Without correction, I am only able to clearly see what is right in front of me. We often allow current struggles and strivings to hold our attention while neglecting to consider our eternal timeframe. Everything is temporary—from our bad days to our bank accounts. If we learn to maintain an eternal perspective, we learn to fix our eyes on God. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2 ESV).
Farsightedness: distant objects appear clearer than nearby objects.
The reverse is also true; it is possible to fix our eyes on the finish line and lose sight of the needs right in front of us. Many of Jesus’ parables touch on this. The Good Samaritan made a detour in order to minister to a need (Luke 10:35-37). The widow stopped in her tracks and swept her house to find a small coin (Luke 15:8-10). Big projects for Jesus are awesome, but drawing just one to Christ through personal contact is priceless.
Astigmatism: light isn’t focused evenly on the retina making objects appear fuzzy or stretched out.
Football-shaped eyeballs cause light to enter the eye unevenly. When we put more emphasis on the words of men than God, we get a distorted view of God. Humans are fallible. The people who make up the church will always disappoint. Your favorite author may undergo a theological shift that disturbs you. Someone in church leadership may offend you. Correct distortion by always starting in God’s Word. His Word is full of the Light—clear, and undistorted. (My friend Ginger Newingham wrote a great piece on this here.)
Presbyopia: as the eyes ages, it loses its ability to focus up close.
In presbyopia, the lens of the eye hardens and is unable to change shape to focus correctly. Age brings wisdom. It also brings jaded attitudes and the feeling that we’ve discovered all there is to know. We often allow past hurts and pride to set up in the heart like cement. Hard hearts can’t focus properly on God. Doctors correct presbyopia with a pair of reading glasses, and we correct our spiritual presbyopia with repentance. “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity” (Prov 28:13-14 ESV).
Amblyopia: the vision in one eye is impaired because it doesn’t work with the brain.
Amblyopia is also known as “lazy eye.” It isn’t on the list of refraction errors, but this is why my son wears glasses, so I included it. Because his left eye is weaker than his right, my son’s brain would essentially forget about his left eye if he didn’t wear his glasses. If we stop reading the Bible, we will experience spiritual blindness. Let’s not get lazy, friends. Continue to sharpen your worldview through the lens of God’s Word.
We can keep our spiritual vision clear by undergoing regular exams. #FridayFiveClick To Tweet
We can keep our spiritual vision clear by undergoing regular exams. Take a look at all of these forms of visual impairment. Could one of these describe you? Take steps today to correct your vision. The clear view will be worth the effort.
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With this election cycle, character is king (or the poop emoji). How can we build character in ourselves? In our children? Come back next week and share your thoughts. (#FridayFive will be open for two weeks starting in November.)