Tuesday, February 06, 2018

through my weary eyes, You're giving vision for Your Kingdom.

Let me start by saying I don't feel that these words are eloquent or edited or polished enough, but for some reason I feel the need to share them raw, so here they are.

     They say every person sees colors differently. If I pointed to a leaf, we would both recognize it as green, but your eyes will see it a slightly different shade than mine will. Of course, we don't have language complex enough, or adjectives specific enough, to differentiate the exact differences we see; however, I think we could all agree that this seems like a truth to us. We can't prove it, we can't explain it, but we know it must be true.

     This morning, as I was driving down the interstate, I started thinking about spiritual sight. From out of nowhere, I realized there has only ever been one human who had 20/20 spiritual vision. Only Christ was naturally able to see absolute truth, because only Christ was fully God and fully man. The rest of us, with God's power and Spirit at work in us, are walking around with glasses and contacts. We don't just see varying shades of the same spiritual activity- our eyes are blind to God's heart and spiritual truths until we choose to see through His vision. We are born blind, born into darkness, born into sin. It is only through the Light of Christ that we are able to see.

     Some of us are lucky enough to have been raised around people who had seen the Light and were able therefore to cast Light into our lives. Some of us are more like those Isaiah refers to when he says, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone." (And, sidebar: I love the wording of that second phrase. We dwelt, were comfortable staying in, a land of deep darkness. Yet He shone His light on us.) Just as we all see varying shades of the same colors, we all come from various shades of darkness. Some come from deep darkness, and some come from dusky, there's-a-lamp-on-in-the-next-room darkness. No matter the shade of darkness we come from or currently reside in, we all need a remedy.
If you've ever walked from a cozy, dark house into the brightness of midday, you know what it feels like physically to go from 'deep darkness' to 'great light'.  Maybe you've been deep asleep in a pitch black room and had a flashlight shone straight in your face. It hurts your eyes, they might water, you have to squint or shield your eyes for a solid minute until they adjust. The only remedy is to stay in the light, because once your eyes adjust to it, it stops hurting. If you go out into the light, realize its brightness, then say "Nope, going back inside," the only thing that does is delay the discomfort or pain. At some point we each have to face the light.

     For each of us, the Holy Spirit becomes the vision correction we need. Whether He is correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, or anything in between, the beautiful part is that He isn't just the go-between for us to approach the Father, He is our teacher. He isn't just our 'glasses', He is our eye surgery. He teaches us, slowly, to see everything in the light of God's truth. To see things in the light of Christ. As He teaches our eyes how to see, He is healing them. With each opportunity to see our world and our lives God's way, He is giving us an opportunity for our impaired vision to be redeemed and healed a bit more. Each time you and I choose to step out of our darkness and filter our lives through the truth and light of God's Spirit, we become a little less impaired, and our spiritual eyes see things a little bit more like He does.

     The problem is, sometimes I don't want to do that, because that is when I see myself most clearly, and I don't like that self a whole bunch, especially in comparison to Christ's unblemished perfection. I'm realizing, however, that seeing my attempted 'righteousness' as filthy, excrement-covered rags is really good for my puffy, prideful heart. We all need that dose of humility from time to time (for me, from minute to minute). When I see my flesh and human heart as they truly are, it makes me incapable of puffing myself up above others or against Christ. It flattens me, and pushes my teary face down to the foot of the Cross. What's insane is that God is more good-filled (is that a thing? Does that make sense? I'm making it a thing) than just that. He doesn't leave us crying at our own filth. He washes us and clothes us in His true righteousness. He give us His eyes. Thankfully, just as God gives us the ability to see the things around us with His vision, when He saves us, He also gives us the ability to see ourselves as He sees us- washed by the blood of the Lamb. By His grace and sacrifice, we too stand unblemished but humbled by His goodness.

     I love that His vision makes it impossible for us to take Earth too seriously. You know how when you get self-focused, it's easy for everything good to puff you up with pride and everything bad to make you wail, "this is the end of the world! It has never been worse than this!"? I'm noticing that when I see with His eyes, it balances out the highs and lows. Keeping my eyes focused on eternity and Christ's absolute truth keeps my heart and spirit stable. When I'm viewing my life through the eyes of Christ, I see just a few things that are truly meaningful, genuine, or worth anything. It's like that old hymn says, "The things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." I wonder if seeing with God-vision is part of the easy yoke Jesus mentions in Matthew 11. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When I look around at this world with my self-vision, it weighs me down. It makes me feel heavy- do you feel that sometimes, too? Yet when I 'put on' God-vision, it is so much easier to rest. To see and react with gentleness and meekness and calm, soul-rest.

     My eyes and yours may see things differently, but when we view life through His eyes, all the shades and variations don't matter. His view of sin, of sorrow, and of joy don't change. He is always giving His children good and perfect gifts, like the gift of His vision. He is "the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change," James 1:17 says. The world around us may change, may bring us to our knees, may knock the air from our lungs, but He is constant. We may not like or understand the way he's working in us- that's how you know it is good and true work, when it is agonizing and uncomfortable. But the bottom line us that He has given us the ability to see clearly if we choose to. "God doesn't give smog, He gives clean air," as J. Vernon McGee says in his commentary on this passage in James (which I highly recommend listening to.)  It is up to you and me if we want to see the world through the smog of humanity or the the clear vision of Christ.

music that inspired these thoughts:
Mighty by Commune (from which I got the title for this blog. AND the band is some of my incredibly talented friends! Search them on iTunes!)
Today by Common Ground Band
Reckless Love by Cory Asbury
You Are My One Thing by Bethel
Be Thou My Vision by Ginny Owens
I Will Lift My Eyes by Bebo Norman

welcome to midnight.

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