A message summary at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, April 27, 2014:
When it comes to eyesight, your ability to see changes as you get older. For example, objects close up are clear, while objects far away can be very blurry. This is nearsightedness. Myopia is the clinical term for nearsightedness, which means you can’t see far away.
How does this pertain to a person who is a believer? It has to do with your faith. There is only faith in what is seen, but what about faith when things are unseen or unknown?
What is faith?
1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.
Our entire relationship in Jesus Christ is based upon faith…believing in the promises of God for salvation and eternal life. Without faith, we cannot experience any security in where we are today and where we will go when we leave here. If you choose to live for the moment and fail to see the importance of what will come in the future, you are not relying on any hope or promises that Jesus offers. Think about this as you live your life. If you are living a life where there is a lack of confidence in where you stand, it has an effect on how you are living and how others see you.
Without faith, every believer reverts to a place that is most familiar—the flesh. In the flesh, you can’t see what is in the distance. You can only see what is in front of you. It is the opposite of having faith. In the flesh, we are myopic.
Symptoms of myopia in a believer:
1. Hidden or spoiled fruits (of the Spirit)
Galatians 5:19-25 (HCSB)
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.
Your flesh will prevent the Spirit from operating in your life.
Your flesh will hide the fruits of the Spirit.
Your flesh will spoil your fruits.
2. Short on faithing and long on complaining
1 Peter 4:8-10 (HCSB)
8 Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.
3. Missed blessings mean missed opportunities
Deuteronomy 28:1-10 (HCSB)
Blessings for Obedience
1 “Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all His commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God:
3 You will be blessed in the city
and blessed in the country.
4 Your descendants will be blessed,
and your land’s produce,
and the offspring of your livestock,
including the young of your herds
and the newborn of your flocks.
5 Your basket and kneading bowl will be blessed.
6 You will be blessed when you come in
and blessed when you go out.
7 “The Lord will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you. They will march out against you from one direction but flee from you in seven directions. 8 The Lord will grant you a blessing on your storehouses and on everything you do; He will bless you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 9 The Lord will establish you as His holy people, as He swore to you, if you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. 10 Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by Yahweh’s name, and they will stand in awe of you.
65 You will find no peace among those nations, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despondent spirit. 66 Your life will hang in doubt before you. You will be in dread night and day, never certain of survival. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’—because of the dread you will have in your heart and because of what you will see.
Here’s the problem—if these are your attributes—hidden or spoiled fruits, complaining, and unappreciative—what do other people see in you where they can be encouraged?
A believer’s actions must be evident to others in ways that are deemed to be Christlike. Anything less is inadequate as a believer. This myopic behavior, left untreated, can be disastrous in the long term.
God is aware of this condition and its treatment. It’s up to the person to opt for a prescription, which begins with a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. He wants you to have more as a believer than plain old fire insurance.
Escape through fire…
1 Corinthians 3:14-16 (HCSB)
14 If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.
16 Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
But don’t think you get a pass even in this area…God knows your heart and will call you out if you haven’t been honest with yourself…
Ezekiel 15:6-8 (HCSB)
6 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire as fuel, so I will give up the residents of Jerusalem. 7 I will turn against them. They may have escaped from the fire, but it will still consume them. And you will know that I am Yahweh when I turn against them. 8 I will make the land desolate because they have acted unfaithfully.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.
Your prescription for myopia as a believer:
Work on your IMAGE
Investigate – not just read the Bible, but investigate the contents of it–study and learn His Word.
Meditate – not just prayer, but meditate on the Word day and night. Discover how God is speaking to you.
Apply – Taking God’s Word and applying it to your life on a daily basis. Knowing the Word is not enough–applying it means much more.
Grow – Learning to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ each day and grow in your knowledge of Him.
Endure – To endure is to be able to effectively withstand any opposition that you face; especially the opposition of the enemy.
Ephesians 6:13-18 (HCSB)
13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore,
with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
15 and your feet sandaled with readiness
for the gospel of peace.
16 In every situation take the shield of faith,
and with it you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.
18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
The prescription for a myopic believer begins with a better relationship with the One who saved you in the beginning–Jesus Christ. He helps you in the power of the Holy Spirit in how to live life after salvation.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines