Hi, this is Pastor Ken, I want to welcome you to my Thoughts on a Thursday Podcast where I take some regular occurrence or personal story from my life and connect it to a scriptural truth. So here are my thoughts on this Thursday, November 9thth 2023…Near Sighted Vs Far Sighted
I have worn glasses since I was in the 9th grade. I have not forgotten in over 40 years so I am going to assume I will never forget what that first day with my new corrective lenses was like. My dad drove me to the optometrist to pick up the glasses we had been waiting about two weeks to arrive. They put them on me, fitted them, and then repeated the eye exam to make sure my new glasses were correctly improving my vision. It wasn’t until we left the building to head home that I was struck by the vast improvement. I’m sure looking back the ride home was a spectacle to behold. I couldn’t stop telling my dad about the leaves on the trees, the rivets in the steel decked bridge we crossed over. The individual blades of grass in the lawns we passed by. I was amazed that one could perceive those things without being close up to them. Certainly I had seen leaves, rivets, and grass before, but only clearly when looking at them at close proximity. My father must have thought I had regained my eyesight…but lost my mind. I don’t remember because I was too busy looking at everything outside the car, but dad must have had a very amused grin on his face.
One of the reasons I waited so long to get the glasses I needed was because I was near-sighted. I could see things close-up just fine. I had no trouble reading, writing, or doing homework…when I actually did homework. I could see the things that were close to me with no trouble at all. It was only when my far-sightedness progressed to the point of me having difficulty seeing what my teachers were writing on the blackboards, that I even noticed it was a problem. Even then that could be remedied by sitting closer to the board, so that’s what I did. My long range vision had diminished so slowly, that I wasn’t aware the degree of clarity that had vanished along with it. It was only when I could suddenly see so clearly that the difference became distinct. I cannot sufficiently explain, even all these decades later, the amazement I experienced at the prospect of now enjoying all that I had unwittingly been missing out on.
These days my vision has dimmed further. Without glasses correcting my vision I cannot see even a fraction of what I could all those years ago. Along with my inability to see distances without glasses, my ability to see things close up is also a thing of the past. Now I must wear progressive lenses to be able to see both far and near. Even with glasses, nothing seems as clear as I would like it to be…nothing compares to that first ride home from the optometrist.
We can have this problem spiritually as well. We can exhibit symptoms of being spiritually near-sighted and it can cause us some real difficulties. If we don’t correct this problem, we will begin to look only at what can be seen clearly. We will avoid looking too far into the distance because the lack of clarity frustrates us, and so our focus is placed only on what can be seen satisfactorily enough to keep us comfortable. We live in a temporal world. However, that temporal world is not the totality of it. This world exists in a spiritual realm that is eternal. When we consider our lives only in the context of what we can see clearly, we are being incredibly near-sighted and unfortunately that is very…short sighted of us as well.
1 John 2:15-17 in the New Living Translation says, 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. If we choose to focus only on the world we can easily see, we will quite naturally choose those things that please us. We will take the path of least resistance. We will not only selfishly choose the things that bring is physical pleasure but we will also succumb to our prideful nature and attempt to take credit for all of our accomplishments. The Apostle John rightly points out that we cannot serve ourselves and serve God. God is a loving master…but He insists on our complete devotion to Him. In other words, if we are going to accept Him as our Savior, we must also acknowledge Him as our Lord, and serve Him and Him alone. That won’t be possible for us if we are relying on our nearsightedness and ignoring our lack of farsightedness. Jesus once posed the question, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed”? (Luke 9:25). So what can we do to correct our failing far-sightedness? How can we begin to see things as we ought to?
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, our eternal Lord helps us correct our vision and see life through a corrected eternal lens. Jesus having come and died in our place so that our sin problem would finally have a permanent remedy, was raised again to life by God the Father and was seated on His right hand. The Bible tells us that when we accept that Jesus has indeed died in our place and has been raised up eternally, we are raised up with Him. Our faith in His resurrection allows for our resurrection and gives us an eternal vision. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. So how will we know if we have truly had our spiritual far-sightedness corrected?
Our approach to this life in this temporal world will change. We will begin to see and treat it as if it is in fact temporary. In John 6:27 it is recorded that Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval”. When we get our eternal vision corrected we begin to put the correct emphasis on what really matters. We begin to see that the things of this world are going to someday pass away. The bible tells us that we entered this world naked and we will leave it the same way…meaning, nothing we do here is going to be transferrable into eternity unless it is something we did in service to the Kingdom of God. Those actions, the ones God asks us to take for Him, are the only things that will sustain us and have a lasting effect.
Additionally, our willingness to do what Jesus asks of us makes clear which aspect of our vision is more highly valued. In Luke 12:32-34 Jesus said, Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Our vision gives us away. If we prefer to focus on what is here and now, close to our hands, we are being near-sighted and everything we do will be to increase our position in this world. If we are far-sighted, eternally minded as we should be, then our focus will be on serving Christ and living in and for His kingdom. Corrected spiritual far-sightedness is an even more wonderful thing than my first experience with corrected physical farsightedness was. It is what enables us to walk by faith and not by sight and see the intricate details that really matter.
So…if you want to keep your spiritual vision dialed in, then you have to follow the instructions given to us by the eternal God for maintaining healthy eternal eyesight. The most important exercise for maintaining the correct vision is to keep our undivided focus directly on Jesus. He said it, if we are going to focus on, and follow after Him, we have to deny ourselves, meaning we don’t focus on what we would want, take up our cross every day, meaning we understand that it isn’t about us…and follow Him, meaning do what He would do and what He is asking us to do.
Colossians 3:23-24 says, 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
So now, with your eternal glasses on, viewing this life with a corrected far-sighted…yes even an eternal view, follow Jesus and…Go Be Awesome!