The Farsighted, Nearsighted, Blind Christian
We understand these maladies of vision to usually be mutually exclusive. A person cannot customarily be farsighted, nearsighted, and blind simultaneously. However, the Bible instructs us that as Christians, we should figuratively exhibit all of these characteristics, so how can a Christian exhibit these characteristics. How can this be desirable, when these are not normally good things? What do we mean by "farsighted, nearsighted, and blind"?
We typically think of someone being "farsighted" who has difficulty seeing objects that are near, while being able to clearly focus on those that are far. In this article, we are using the term "farsighted" figuratively. That is, it is not our physical eyesight with which we are concerned, but rather, our spiritual vision is of primary importance. Therefore, we speak of a Christian being spiritually farsighted with respect to time. He or she is able to clearly focus on the distant future, specifically, our spiritual goal - heaven.
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
Like the apostle Paul, who penned these words, the Christian is to be focused on the distant goal that lies before us. However, it is not a goal that can physically realized in this lifetime. No one in our day is able to see heaven and return to tell us about it. It is not a physical goal that we can see of tangibly experience in this life. Consequently, it requires one to perceive this goal with the "eye of faith".
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." II Corinthians 4:16-18
. . .
"So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him." II Corinthians 5:6-10
Therefore, the Christian must be focused on the distant future. He or she cannot be overcome with the temporal concerns of this life. In this way, the Christian can be said to be "farsighted".
So, if a Christian is to be spiritually farsighted, how can they be nearsighted at the same time? Are not these two things mutually exclusive? If nearsighted means being able to see clearly things that are near but unable to see distant objects, how can a person be nearsighted and farsighted at the same time?
A Christian is to be "nearsighted" in that he or she is focused on today. At first, that may seem contradictory to what we just said, but in fact, it is becoming spiritually farsighted that enables one to become nearsighted in this life.
"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:31-34
In this life, the Christian is to be focused on "today". They should not be excessively worried about tomorrow or the future of this life. In fact, when Jesus was providing instruction to his disciples about how to pray, He showed that they were to pray for their "daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). We are not to be overly concerned about requesting things for this life (James 4:3-5), neither are we to make extravagant provisions for this life at the expense of our spiritual future (Luke 12:13-21; I Timothy 6:6-9, 17-19). It is only in this way that we will be able to correctly make the tough decisions. If we are overly concerned about tomorrow in this life, then we will be unable to make the right choices today (Luke 12:4-7; John 12:42-43). Therefore, the Christian must also be "nearsighted" in that he or she is focused on making tough choices today, neither fearful of consequences tomorrow, procrastinating until tomorrow, nor excessively providing for a rich life here.
Since both nearsighted and farsighted imply some vision, how then can or should a Christian be blind?
And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind."
Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?"
Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains." John 9:39-41
Are we like the Pharisees, so confident of our own abilities and understanding, that we cannot recognize our own weaknesses and failures? Christians are to be blind, in that they recognize their own blindness. They recognize that the ability to save themselves does not lie within themsleves (Jeremiah 10:23). Our sins have separated us from God, and we are in desperate need of His mercy.
Whether we recognize it or not, we are all in need of God's mercy and salvation. Our blindness exists, whether we admit it or not. But, by seeing our blindness, we are then in a position to see a greater future, a heavenly goal. By securing our relationship with God, we then are enabled to focus clearly on today, making wise decisions, not burdened by the physical cares of tomorrow. Then finally, we can truly see, and we will be nearsighted, farsighted, and blind.
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