When I was growing up, I thought there was only one kind of blindness: the kind that causes a physical impairment of the eyes.
Until recently, I didn’t understand that there was a different type of blindness: the kind that causes an impairment of the heart and soul.
Those people who cannot see the truth of who God is and who are unable to comprehend the humble, sacrificial, servant lifestyle that following him requires.
Because they are blind.
Their hearts and souls have been impaired by pride.
Over and over again in the New Testament, Jesus calls out the religious leaders of his day for loving praise, power, and prestige more than they love God. In Matthew 23, he calls them blind four times. He cites their self-loving pride as the reason for their spiritual blindness. In John 5:41-44 he rebukes them:
“Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God,”
In other words, they loved all things self more than they loved God. They looked religious on the outside, but inside they were void of the devotion and desire for God that marks a true follower. The inside of their hearts were full of pride and self-love.
Their selfish pride blinded them to their desperate need for Jesus, it hindered them from seeing the truth, and it prevented real transformation.
Seeing, they could not see.
They were blind.
It’s not so different today. Spiritual blindness is everywhere.
I dare say it’s an epidemic: People who are blind to the truth because their hearts are full of pride. People who cannot see their pride and don’t realize they are blind.
It’s ironic, isn’t it?
Because they are blind, they cannot see. Because they cannot see, they remain blind.
I used to be blind.
I spent the first thirty-some years of my life calling myself a Christian and completely unaware that I was spiritually blind. I went to church, I said the prayers, I sang the songs, I owned a bible. But my life was still all about me and what I wanted: my success, my needs, my quality of life.
It wasn’t until I fell flat on my face and was completely stripped of my pride that I saw for the first time how blind I had been. I was thoroughly and publicly humbled, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me because it opened my eyes.
True faith is living for God’s glory, not my own. True faith is being willing to die to self, take up a cross and follow wherever God leads. True faith is less of me, more of God. True faith is serving, sacrificing and suffering.
I’m so thankful for the gift of sight.
Unlike many conditions of the eye that cause blindness, spiritual blindness has a cure and it’s this:
But how do I humble myself? How do I cure spiritual blindness? How can I see?
Well in my case, it was falling flat on my face. Failure has a way of stripping pride. Thankfully, that isn’t the only way. Simply put, I believe there are two ways to pursue humility:
think more of God and think less of myself.
First, I humble myself by elevating God’s importance in my life. This means taking a stance of servanthood to God and exalting his majestic sovereignty and goodness. I praise and worship him for being the Supreme Creator of the Universe and submit my life to his will and his discipline. I put him on the throne of my heart. Psalm 8 proclaims, “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens…when I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you set in place – what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?”
Second, I humble myself by lessening my importance. This means acknowledging my total depravity and desperate need for God’s grace. 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “This is a trustworthy saying and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ – and I am the worst of them all.” I used to trip over this verse because my pride told me that surely I was not the worst sinner. I didn’t think I was that bad of a person. Now, I embrace that verse with gladness because I can see how sinful I really am. I am grateful that God still loves me, despite all my failures. I am utterly unworthy of the relentless love of God.
More of him, less of me.
More of his glory, less glory for me.
More love for him, less love for me.
More devotion to him, less devotion to me.
I have learned that, as a believer, I must pursue humility on a daily basis. Humility is counter-cultural and goes against every other message the world gives, and therefore, it takes tremendous effort. But it’s worth the effort because humility is the key to preventing spiritual blindness. Humility doesn’t happen by itself, but pride does!
Practically, I have found that one of the best ways to pursue humility is to read the Word. The Bible is the best resource available for discovering the breadth of God’s majesty and for understanding my depravity. There is nothing that can take its place. In addition, I begin each day on my knees, surrendering to God in prayer and asking him to mold me, fill me with his Spirit, and guide my steps. This places me in the humble position to do his will and not my own.
Not a very fancy solution, I know. But these two things work in a mighty way. They are the biggest difference makers in my life – resulting in going from blindness to sight.
Dear Friends, Do you have eyes that see? Can your heart and soul see the treasure that is God and his Son? Don’t let spiritual blindness steal your inheritance! Humble yourself and truly see his goodness.
In the words of one of my favorite hymns:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
T’was blind, but now I see.
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