Seeing Clearly

I have struggled with double vision ever since eye surgery as a teenager. I had surgery 22 years ago to address it, but I still need prisms in my eyeglasses to keep it under control. At my last eye exam, the optometrist determined that I was struggling again to keep the double vision under control, and he dramatically increased the amount of prism in my new prescription. I felt a bit disoriented the first time I put on the new glasses. It took me a little while to adjust to the increased prism. Then I realized something.

I had been unaware of how difficult it had become to control the double vision with my old glasses and how much effort I was exerting to do it. I realize now that it was fatiguing. I strongly suspect that’s why I was becoming so drowsy. The change was gradual, so I didn’t realize how badly I needed a stronger remedy to the problem until it was corrected. Life as Christ-followers can be that way with God’s word.

When we’re not getting enough of it, our spiritual lives can gradually diminish, just as my control of double vision did. God makes it clear in many places in the Bible that staying in His Word is the key to staying close to Him:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV)

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

This doesn’t mean we need to adopt some legalistic practice of reading the Bible for x number of minutes a day or adopting a Bible in a year reading program (although there is nothing wrong with either of those). It means that, through the Holy Spirit living in you, you feel a personal connection with God and He will speak to you personally through His Word. That includes showing you where you’ve drifted without knowing it. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, shared above, is often interpreted this way:

  1. God’s Word shows us the path He wants us on. (Teaching)
  2. God’s Word shows us when we’ve strayed from that path (Rebuking)
  3. God’s Word shows us the way back on His path. (Correcting)
  4. God’s Word shows us how to stay on the path. (Training in righteousness)

Jesus promised that the Spirit would teach us. When we pray to the Spirit, He will show us exactly what God wants us to see each time we read the Bible. As others have said: “a Divine Book needs a Divine Teacher.” Stay in God’s Word out of a burning desire to stay close to Him, not out of a sense of legalistic obligation. And if it’s been a while, go ahead and pick up the Bible today. Unlike my increased prisms, you won’t find it disorienting at all!

— Pastor Jerry Bader, Samaritan’s Heart Mission Church

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