Spiritual Optometry

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways
Psalm 119:37

Optometry is the discipline of correcting what we see.  Optometrists are trained to correct various vision disorders through corrective lenses.  Its always amazing to me when I go to the optometrist and my contact prescription has changed.  It is not until I put in the new contacts, that I realize how poor my previous vision was.

One of the interesting things about our vision, is that we accomodate.  We can get used to seeing very poorly.  I played football my sophmore year in high school and even returned kick offs while my vision was probably at least 20/100 (I need to be 20 ft away from what normal folks can see at 100 ft away).  The game changed dramatically for me, when I started wearing contacts.

Believe it or not, what you see and how you perceive things is not only a function of some pretty sophisticated anatomy, but also your spiritual state, your cultural identity, and your emotional health.  However, I would argue, that you spiritual state is the lense that shapes your vision most dramatically.

The Psalmist asks God to "Turn his eyes away from worthless things".  What he was acknowledging was that there were things that had his attention that were worthless or trivial things. He recognized that there were things that appeared attractive to him, but were not necessarily good for him.  He admitted that he, like us all, needed God to grant him better spiritual lenses to see things as they really are.

It has been said that hindsight is 20/20.  How many times can we look back at a relationship or a possession that we desired and wonder "Why didn't I see that for what it was".  It is because our spiritual vision was not acute.  We saw things based upon our own natural desires instead of the reality of what lay ahead of us.  When we are lonely, people who give us attention suddenly become more attractive, despite their abusive or self-destructive tendencies.  When we experience pain, that drink, that weed, those sexual infatuations appear to be heaven sent, instead of the chains of hell that they are.  All of these things are worthless; vanity in pretty packages.

In the Bible, God reveals that it is His spirit that allows us to see correctly (I Cor 2:6-16).  It is not that we are "zapped" and magically we see things in their proper perspective, but that we have to be intentional about apply the "spirit of God" lense to what we we see.  We have to put on our Holy Spirit glasses.

So how do we do this:

1. Admit that you can't see anything correctly on your own.  Your cultural, your neediness, and your sinfulness (yes, we are all sinful and desire to be our own gods) keeps things permanently distorted.  We have all accomodated to this reality.

2. Decide that you want to see things accurately, even if it means seeing the ugliness of your current relationships, situations, and even yourself.  It can be painful sometimes to confront reality.  Conversely, seeing things accurately will also allow you to see beauty in places where you never imagined.

3. Daily, ask for God's spirit to help you see things the way He sees things.  God's spirit will do this collaboratively with you, but will not do it for you.  It is through prayer that we speak and listen.  It is through reading Scripture that we are informed and shaped.  It is through fellowship that our vision is confirmed,  It is through service that our vision is refined.  All of these are tools from which God's spirit corrects our vision and allows us to see what He sees.  Interestingly, these are also the same disciplines of Jesus.

4. Interpret what you see based upon whether they are life giving.  The Psalmist asks "give me life in  your ways".  Some of our relationships are not life giving and we know it.  Some of our desired possessions and positons give us pride, but take away life.  Life is the God-ordained vitality to live freely and lovingly in everything we do.  That mortgage that seeks to take up 50% of your income may seem like your dream house, but it will quickly become your prison as it will become the driver of your life.  The spirit will help you see what is life giving and what imprisons you.

I hope that you pray with me today to turn away from worthless things and turn towards the life giving ways that God has for us.  I pray that today, you will allow for a check on your eye sight that will allow you to see all the beauty that God has for you and side step every obstacle in your path.

May God bless you,


Pastor M Traylor