A 365 Day Devotional Journal
Scripture: Exodus 23:8; Leviticus 19:14; Deuteronomy 16:19-20; 27:18; Matthew 15:13-14; Psalm 36:1-3; 146:7-8; Proverbs 27:12; Isaiah 29:8-10; 35:4-6; 42:6-8, 15-17, 18-20; 43:7-9; 56:9-11; 59:9-11; Zephaniah 1:17; Zechariah 11:16-17; Matthew 9:28; 11:4-6; 15:29-31; 23:15-17; Mark 8:22-25; Luke 4:17-19; 6:38-40; John 9:1-41; 12:39-41; Acts 9:17-18; 13:10-12; Romans 2:16-20; 2 Corinthians 4:3-5; 2 Peter 1:4-10; 1 John 2:10-12; Revelation 3:16-18.
It was sometime during the second grade that my teacher discovered I could not see as well as the others in class. She contacted my parents, and Mom took me in for an eye exam. The results were conclusive. I needed glasses. My dad and sister already wore glasses, so this came as no surprise to anyone.
This is so cool, I thought, now I will be just like them!
I remember exclaiming to my older sister how proud I was to be wearing glasses. It was a given in my mind that she understood what I really meant – that now that we shared this commonality, I had officially entered “cool” status.
But she brushed me off with “Glasses are not something you should be wanting.”
I was more than a little bit miffed and it would be years before I realized the truth behind that statement.
I paraded my pink cat’s eyes glasses to school not long after, only to find the other kids at school thought little of those who wore glasses, too. “Four eyes” comes to mind, among other taunts received at the hands of those more interested in popularity games than knowing the person behind the lens.
See, in my young eyes, I thought that wearing glasses would make me like my dad and sister. They both possess bubbly personalities; ergo, if I wore glasses then so would I. To be outgoing like them was to a shy girl the best gift in the world.
But the only change in me was to become just as blind as they were. My prescription gradually worsened over the years to roughly 20×200. In the days before high index lenses, we three all wore “coke bottles” for glasses. I remember realizing then that blindness was not at all something to be admired.
We had become the blind leading the blind.
The Bible has quite a lot to say about spiritual blindness, but the overall theme of its coverage may be summed up in a single statement by Jesus, “I entered this world to render judgment – to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”1 I think perhaps Jesus was remembering when He read from the scroll of Isaiah in the Synagogue on Sabbath Day and He announced His purpose to the world:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”2
To show those who think they see that they are in fact blind sounds an awful lot like Jesus rendering judgment upon people full of pride, doesn’t it? It should, because this is exactly what it is.
Today’s world likes to mask pride with the false belief in evolution as the survival of the fittest. I have even heard public school teachers quote this lie of Darwin to justify bullies in school.
Pride is an insidious evil. It creeps in under the guise of assertive personality and may assume a neutral position for a time, until its placement and influence is assured or until its competition is lulled into passivity. But don’t be fooled. Pride will assert itself eventually because it craves to be first, not last, to lead, not follow, to teach, not be taught, not to admire but to be admired by all.
“You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.
…Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
“If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.”3
Left untreated, pride blinds a person so he cannot truly see. It is a true statement of Lord Acton, nineteenth century historian and moralist that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” This was true of Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day and is equally true of the body of Christ today when it functions apart from His agape love. Corrupted church power crucified our Messiah, Jesus.
What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are! Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? 4
Jesus knew he faced this evil when dealing with the scribes, Pharisees, and teachers of the law, but He also knew all men struggle with pride because this was the original sin.
This declaration of Jesus reminds me of 1 Corinthians 10:
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.5
Just like how as a child I needed glasses so that I could see in school, as followers of Jesus, we need the high index lens of the Holy Spirit leading us in the humility of Christ to be able to truly “see”. This isn’t our goal. Spiritual sight is not a means to an end.
It is a powerful weapon from God to enable us to walk out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Read: Exodus 23:8; Leviticus 19:14; Deuteronomy 16:19-20; 27:18; Matthew 15:13-14; Psalm 36:1-3; 146:7-8; Proverbs 27:12; Isaiah 29:8-10; 35:4-6; 42:6-8, 15-17, 18-20; 43:7-9; 56:9-11; 59:9-11; Zephaniah 1:17; Zechariah 11:16-17; Matthew 9:28; 11:4-6; 15:29-31; 23:15-17; Mark 8:22-25; Luke 4:17-19; 6:38-40; John 9:1-41; John 12:39-41; Acts 9:17-18; 13:10-12; Romans 2:16-20; 2 Corinthians 4:3-5; 2 Peter 1:4-10; 1 John 2:10-12; Revelation 3:16-18. Journal your private thoughts.
Father God, thank You for the Comforter, Your Holy Spirit, whom You sent to be with me always. May I never grieve Him, either by my actions or in my heart. Grant me Your strength and the Joy that comes from walking with You each day in humility. For Jesus’ sake and the kingdom’s, amen.
1John 9:39. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. www.tyndale.com
2Luke 4:18-19. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
3John 9:34. 39-41. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. www.tyndale.com
4Matthew 23:15-17. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. www.tyndale.com
51 Corinthians 10:1-12. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise