I have 20/20 vision, its a genetic disposition, which God has blessed me with and I am very grateful. My wife, on the other hand, has worn contacts/glasses since she was young. She wears glasses out of necessity, I wear glasses out of accessory. In the short time of wearing frames, my wife has educated me on “the smudge”. It doesn’t take much to get glasses dirty, fingerprints, sweat, pollen, are all magnets to my frames. If you are not careful, you begin to adjust your vision through the smudges. It’s a continual process, at least for me, to keep the frames clean.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount,
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
When your lenses are clean, your vision is perfect. It’s the simplicity of life which holds the greatest volume. But, it takes work to keep your lenses clean, and its a continual, daily discipline to keep your heart pure.
I don’t know about you, but there are so many toxins which infiltrate my life on a daily basis. I deal with the daily tension of purging my life from daily temptations and distraction. If you are not careful, you can start living with the smudges. It’s the small distortions which can create the greatest alterations.
I’m using a simple analogy, but with great flexibility, I see how easy it is for us to surrender our life to “other things”. In fact, you can do it and not even know it.
In the Gospel of Luke 18,
18A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”19 “Why do you call me good?”Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.20You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’18:20 Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20”21“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.
Isn’t it so easy to see someone else smudges, but more difficult to see your own? When we read this text, the evidence is so clear. Jesus has indicted the rich ruler’s heart by asking him to give up the one thing which has a hold on his vision and heart. It’s so clear to the outsider looking at the text. Can’t he recognize his own duplicity? Can’t he see how strong of a hold his possessions have on him? But, we all are great at “self-deception“. We allow little things to grow into our lives and then they have attached themselves so concretely to our identity and reality. These smudges become our lens.
Has God ever asked you to do something or give something which had a hold to your heart? I have! In fact, God regularly does this to get my attention of the distractions which have become idols in my life. I find myself feeling amputated. Amputated? Yes, grieving over something that I loved, enjoyed, and found comfort and security. It was a good thing that turned into a god-thing. It became an idol! God doesn’t mind you having things, He just doesn’t want it having you. In this moment, I became acutely aware of my own “condition”. I found myself in need of God’s purification process.
If you understand purification, almost everything goes through some type of purging process. Conviction is the filtering process by which God removes the sin and toxins from our lives. When we think of conviction, it can be “judgment” or “religious”.
Conviction is liberation!
Conviction is an invitation to purging things, feelings, and thinkings, which have divided and damaged our heart. These “things, feelings, and thinkings” cause our lives to miss the abundant life God has promised. The Holy Spirit wants us to see with “clear” vision! He wants us to see what really matters? The things which I “gave up”, were insignificant to what I received. But, because my vision was so blurry, I couldn’t see what and how it was distorting my life and diminishing God’s abundance in my life. This liberation came to a place, called humility.
Conviction bring humility. I can humble myself, or God can bring humility. I prefer the first rather than the later. I have been humbled and it is humiliating. When we allow God to purge our heart, the conviction provides the perspective of our own pride and importance. When we humble ourselves, we see the smudges without anyone pointing them out. This “new” reality provides the power for God to remove them freely. It gives us the understanding of how dependent we are of God’s grace. Humility is recognizing our own sinful flaws and allowing God’s grace to work through our depravity into the beauty of His grace. You can’t walk in PURITY without HUMILITY, they are inseparable.
This is my prayer today:
Lord, search my heart and allow your Spirit to bring conviction to the areas of my life which have conformed my heart to the image of myself instead of the image of Christ. Forgive me, O Lord, for not seeing the sins and stains which were so visible to others, but so hidden to me. I humble myself before you and ask for you to create in me a “clean” heart, renew a willing and steadfast spirit within me. I want to see clearly, Lord, in light of Your Truth and Your Ways. Thank you, Jesus, Amen.