The Blind Spots In Our Faith

blind spot:  an area where a person's view is obstructed.  

I believe; help my unbelief!  Mark 9:24

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my need for ongoing self-examination before the Lord.  It’s probably the part of my faith I neglect the most, especially the longer I consider myself a Christian.  It seems the more years I have under my belt, the less likely I am to question my own thoughts, motives, and behavior in Christ.  After all, I must be getting it right because I’ve been “doing” this for so long.  Right?  

Well, this month’s blog (and accompanying podcast episode) are a reminder that indeed I do not get things right.  Quite the contrary actually.  And that’s a humbling but good thing.  It’s an opportunity for you and I to take this idea of “blind spots” and begin applying them to our faith.  Where do we lack maturity as we continue on a path towards (hopefully) becoming more like Christ?  What compassion do I lack?  What habits do I still struggle with?  What patterns of selfishness and self-gain need to die as I pick up my cross to follow Him?  This is a short list but one that helps jump start my thinking.  

Let me put to bed one argument that can come against all of this:  this can seem legalistic.  After all, if I have freedom in Christ that means lots of grace and the ability to continue figuring it out with His safety net, right?  Yes.  And in some ways, no.  I think maturity is ongoing.  But faith without works is dead.  Faith without recognizable, noticeable fruit is dead.  I can see the constant pruning that needs to take place in my life.  I’m not pointing the finger, but perhaps you can see it in yours as well.  It’s not legalistic to identify where I am falling short and still in need of His redemptive touch.  

So what follows today is a means to identify those areas of shortcoming and persistent weeds that we need to pluck out.  This might all come across as nothing earth-shattering.  Honestly, I hope it is that way because nothing here is really hard to figure out.  The hard part is applying it.  That being said, let’s dive in once again.  

How do we identity and move past blind spots?

1.Ask the Lord to investigate our hearts — is there any wayward thing within us?

Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  Psalm 139:23

Whenever I read the Psalms I routinely find a relationship with the Lord that is very open-handed and ready to receive correction/instruction.  However, when I close the Bible and look at this world, I see a culture that resists any sort of examination.  To not affirm a person’s lifestyle choices is to come across as bigoted and closed-minded.  We have to see things for what they are and realize that in Christ, we are called to walk an opposite path.  We are to be open to teaching.  We are to be sensitive when the Holy Spirit convicts and impresses upon us our sin or failings.
The practice of doing this must be regular and on-going.  Ideally, we incorporate this into our daily prayer life as we say “Lord remove anything from my life that stands in the way of You.”  Is there any area of unconfessed sin I must repent of?  Is there a mindset I have about the Lord that is wrong and unbiblical?  Is there simply a part of my life (a goal, dream, or desire) that I have not fully given over to Him and entrusted to Him?  These are all parts of examination and baring ourselves before the Lord.  These help us see Him more fully and lead us into a greater understanding of His plans.  

2.Find accountability/community with fellow believers 

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  Hebrews 10:24,25

When my family and I went on trips this summer in our Chevrolet Suburban (one of the biggest vehicles that can fit all 7 of us), we had the back storage area packed to the max.  In fact, it was so full of luggage that my center rearview mirror was completely obstructed.  Knowing I could not always see what was either directly behind or just to the side of the vehicle, I would enlist the help of family (usually my wife Corrie) and say “Is it safe to switch lanes?”  She would literally check my blind spot for me and help me safely navigate our way down the highway.  
In a similar way, we need each other in order to check blind spots we cannot see in our lives.  To do this, we need to be open to accountability and the voices of other Christians speaking truth.  It doesn’t have to be everybody.  But it should be a handful of close trusted Christians that you can walk the path with.  People who will call you on behavior or words that are not appropriate.  Brothers or sisters who will sharpen your faith.  Believers who will spur you on to keep going when your strength is weak.  Life can often be unnecessarily difficult simply because we do not reach out and desire real Christian community.  

3.Allow the identification of blind spots to bring you into new places of freedom

And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:22-24

I love the interaction between Jesus and this father of a boy with an unclean spirit.  It so reflects my own heart and mindset when I consider blind spots in my faith.  The father knows there is something about Jesus.  He’s probably at the end of his rope, looking for an answer and pleading “If you can do anything…”. Jesus picks up on that word “If” knowing that there is a hint of doubt in the man’s request; meaning he’s hopeful but not completely believing this will work.  When pressed on this, the man utters what I call the most honest verse in all of Scripture:  I believe; help my unbelief!
You see, we all come to Christ at a point where our belief in Him has to overcome our unbelief.  Our justification (right-standing) with the Lord is instantaneous.  However, our sanctification (process of being made like Jesus) is ongoing and meandering at times.  What this father expressed is the point at which breakthrough has to occur.  With each successive blind spot identified and removed, we are walking into deeper and deeper levels of freedom.  We are going into uncharted waters…following after the Lord in places we’ve never been before.  It’s an amazing thing and the longer I’m in Christ, the more I find myself wanting to move further past where yesterday’s faith took me. 

To conclude today, I want to stay on this idea of uncharted waters and what the Lord has in store for you as you trust Him.  One of the saddest things I’ve witnessed are Christians playing it safe and never experiencing the full potential God has for them.  Yet everyday I see blind spots either go unidentified and/or ignored in the hopes that “just a little Jesus” will be enough to save.  Pray for these folks, yes.  But don’t allow your own faith to be ham-strung by the inaction of others you see around you.  Those uncharted waters are for the few…Christ is calling you deeper.  Will you respond?  

I hope you will respond to Jesus offer to believe for greater things.  I hope you will pray over the blind spots and ask for the Lord to examine your heart — to reveal anything that you need to confess or bring to light.  And I hope that you find community with those who will encourage you and spur you to run the race fully abandoned to Christ.  May you find freedom, joy, and purpose in the race.  May the blind spots become smaller and smaller.  May His fullness increase.  

I love walking the journey with you!

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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

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