Friday, February 10, 2012

Restoring Spiritual Vision: How to avoid being ineffective and unproductive

I have been wearing glasses since 5th grade.  Yippee.  I wish wearing glasses made my eyesight magically better overtime, but instead my nearsighted vision has become my kryptonite.  I have coke-bottles for lenses and if I am without my glasses, contacts, or a seeing-eye dog, I will surely destroy something or endanger someone.  Last night I walked into the wall instead of the bathroom.  Whoopsies.

This morning I found a passage that talks about nearsightedness that can progressively turn into blindness.  But unlike my non-magical glasses, there is a cure for this vision, this spiritual vision.

Let's explore, shall we?

2 Peter 1:5-9  Peter talks to me.  "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in you knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins."  Aw snap.

First of all, prior to this Peter reminded me that through Jesus we have escaped the corruption of this world caused by evil desires and we can now participate in his great and very precious promises.  Therefore, make every effort, be diligent, (don't avoid or ignore), expend ourselves to add to our faith in Jesus these qualities.

Why?  First of all, because we get to!  Without Jesus, these qualities Peter lists would be impossible to grow in.  Second of all because it keeps God's children, his adopted sons and daughters, from becoming ineffective (see "bump on a log") and unproductive (see "facebook").

Making Every Effort
We Get To!  We get to continue to supplement our faith with goodness and then knowledge, and then self-control, (and then I start over because that's a hard one for me, but you keep going!).  

When we make every effort to add to our faith these qualities our salvation becomes more real to us because we are experiencing the divine nature of God at work within these brittle bones.  Our vision changes.  We see things the way God sees things.  We become motivated to live for Jesus instead of ourselves (and no offense, but that's a win for all of us).

Vision can also become impaired.  Peter warns that anyone who does not have these qualities lacks vision-he/she is spiritually blind and has forgotten that Jesus came and forgave the sins of the past!

When we don't take the time to seek God, to build our faith through Jesus' ability to help us grow in areas like perseverance and brotherly kindness, our ability to see slowly becomes fuzzy until we are walking in near darkness.

So, I prayed this morning, "God how do I possess these qualities in increasing measure?"  And this is what he said,

1. Ask and Listen to the Lord
Just before Peter lists the qualities we should be practicing and growing in, he says that God has given us EVERYTHING WE NEED for life and godliness.  In no way are we alone in the process.  In no way could we be alone.  By asking God and listening to what he has to say he can give us specific instruction (give money to student missions) or general instruction (show more mercy to your family).  Because God has given us his Spirit he is always at work and can help us continue to pursue growth.

2.  Read the Bible and discover God's promises.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of promises God makes to us in the Bible and 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'yes' in Christ."  We get the unbelievable privilege to participate in these promises.  As we find them in God's Word, and pray them, we surely will be making efforts to grow in these godly qualities.

3.  Go through each quality (gulp) and ask God how you can grow in the quality.
And praise him for his kindness and mercy to even show us!

I did a little of #3 this morning and found it didn't take long to hear from the Lord on some of these qualities. I would like to share a couple with you and you may check in with me to see how things are going.  You may also let me know what God says to you about these qualities.

I am a borderline tantrum throwing two year old sometimes.  I notice I can become quick to lose my temper in certain situations (like when my answer is the right answer or I have to wait to share my two-cents) and God immediately put on my heart James 1:19-20 "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires."  This specifically means I will be making every effort to respond kindly even if I'm frustrated (because my tongue may just catch the world on fire).

(meaning devoutness or devotion to God)  Ok, so I've been home bound for awhile recovering.  For the most part each day is better and I am a little more active.  With all this time off I should have found plenty of time to seek Jesus, right?  Well, not when your facebook pictures are so precious, or your blog has the cutest craft I can't make!  When I got to godliness, God said, "Seek first my kingdom and my righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  Matthew 6:33  So I am going to make every effort to seek him first thing in the morning through prayer and his Word.


  1. Love you - this is very encouraging!! So thankful to have a wife that is beautiful, godly, humble and intelligent. One in an Ever love.

  2. Wow, this is so encouraging and challenging. My friend Carrie shared this post with me, and I must say: It's very, very timely. Just last week I was journaling through this passage and trying to figure out what to do next. I knew God was showing it to me for a reason, but I didn't know why. This has been quite helpful. :) I'll be spending some more time in 1 Peter in the morning. :)

    Also, I've been in glasses since sixth grade, and my nearsightedness has only gotten worse, as well.

    ~Mrs. Erven <><

    1. Mrs. Erven-you are a delight-thank you for sharing your heart. I love that you meet with Jesus and I pray that he shows you deep and unsearchable things (Jeremiah 33:3). And cheers to contacts, right? :)


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