Sitting in my car, waiting for a green light at an intersection one day, I observed a trio of teen-aged girls approaching on the sidewalk, each absorbed in their smart phone. Apparently two of them were so absorbed that they missed the step off the curb and stumbled into the car waiting ahead of me. Fortunately, no one was hurt and no damage was done and the giggling girls scampered off as they returned their attention to their smartphones.
Later that day, I heard a report that the number of teenagers and young adults who are afflicted by nearsightedness in this country is growing at an alarming rate. The reason, we are told, is because of the inordinate amount of time spent by this age group looking at their smartphones. Typically, such phones are held about eight inches from the eyes when in use. That is about half the distance at which one reads a magazine. It reminded me of a similar report related to the very high incidence of nearsightedness among the residents of New York City. The cause is thought to be the fact that because of the tall buildings and narrow streets which limit one’s field of vision, New Yorkers have little opportunity to develop their long range vision aside from looking up at the sky.
In the spiritual life, it is easy to become nearsighted and unable to take the long view of things. Peter addresses this in his second epistle after exhorting us to be diligent in adding to our faith “virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” – 2 Peter 1.5-8
Then he tells us: “ For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” – (v.8,9)
Many believers have their spiritual eyes focused only on the things of this world and how those things affect them directly. They never consider events or needs or situations beyond their own personal space. They never think or plan for anything beyond the moment. They never lift up their eyes and see the fields ripe unto harvest. Is it time for an eye exam?
Nearsightedness can be treated with the use of corrective lenses. The application of the lens of Scripture will be of great benefit to one who wishes to have clear spiritual vision. Spiritual nearsightedness, for an individual or for a church body, is a tragic condition. Such a one will not only stumble and fall through the intersections of life, they will never be of much use to the cause of Christ in the world.
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