Beth Moore - Vision Testing - Part 3
Do you know that we were doing a little bit of checking, many of you have some kind of smartphone, most of them will have cameras on them. And we did a little checking and the best camera on an iPhone that you can get currently is 12 megapixels. So, this helps us understand, when we put it beside the figure, that the human eye has 576 megapixel pixels for resolution. It gives us a little bit of insight into why it is that we take a picture of something and it so disappoints us. Have you ever done it? Ever tried to just even get a tree to look right, to somehow to scale on that iPhone, only to look at it and go, "That is so disappointing"?
How many things do you end up posting and saying, "Actually, it doesn't do it justice to what I saw," because of that camera we've got going in our heads? I want you to repeat with me points one and two, points one and two. Number one, "We have access to a great physician who restores vision". I want to ask you a question. Did it resonate with anybody last night that you're like, "You know, I had all sorts of vision, and I don't know what's happened. It's just like, it's like, it's like it evaporated". Can I see a hand of anybody? I'm praying today, oh, I'm asking God today, not even necessarily through anything that gets said, but that you will just perceive from him, as you will understand from it. You will get clarity and ask him for it, ask him to show you. What is it? What is it? He would have you see, because this I know, he wants to restore vision to us.
Number two, "We have an enemy who is also trying to doctor our eyes". So, one of the most important things we talked about is the fact that it's not just what we see, it is how we see it. We talked about the fact that there's a way God wants us to see things that fills us with light, that fills us with hope, that is based on truth and not on deception. But there is also a way the enemy wants us to see things so that he can twist it and turn it and bring about that which is the fruit of the flesh instead of the fruit of the Spirit from it. I'm so aware, this morning, of the words, the familiar words to many of you, of Matthew 6:22 and 23. Listen, listen to these words. "The eye," Jesus says, "is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light".
We're completely focused on sight and eyes, spiritually speaking, in our content. But what this particular segment of Scripture is telling us is if we could get some of this worked out, oh man, it would give light to so much more in our lives. That light that's coming in through our vision is gonna spread light throughout. But he says, "But if your eye is bad," talking about spiritual speaking, "your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness"? I want to say this, and I don't know, I don't know how the commentaries would translate that. But I can tell you something that I think about a lot. When people of light, those of us in Christ, are penetrated by darkness, how dark is that darkness? Anybody know what I'm talking about? Listen, if the enemy can turn the light out on us, we're like just backed and to the blackness of defeat and hopelessness. Oh, we want, we want so much for that veil to be torn down today. Our points begin with this one, and I'm gonna take you to a couple of Scriptures in just a moment, but I want you to write it down first.
Number three, number three, "Our real eye doctor can get the focus back in our vision". We got a real eye doctor, our Great Physician, and he can get some focus back in our vision. Now, I'm gonna say something to you. This probably is going to seem like the least weighty of the points that we're going to make. And so, I want to push back against that assumption immediately because we're gonna think, "You know, that one just didn't really grab me. That one, you know, it was kind of a time waster". What I hope to be able to prove to you is that it could not be more the opposite. So much will rest on this point right here because for many of us, and perhaps for all of us at one time or another, we've lost vision over our calling because we have lost focus.
The biggest thing that is being stolen from us in our current culture is focus. In fact, our adolescents now don't even know what the word means because they were raised up in a culture that cannot focus. And what I want to try to tell you is that the ramifications of that are enormous. Turn with me to Acts chapter 3, and I want to show you something. Acts chapter 3, I'm gonna show you a couple of different things in Acts. If you look at the very beginning of the chapter in Acts, you're going to see the caption that there is healing of a man who is lame. And it's Peter and John, they are going to the temple for the time of prayer midafternoon, 3 o'clock in the afternoon. And it says in verse 2, "A man who was lame from birth was being carried there. And he was placed each day at the temple gate Beautiful, so that he could beg from those entering the temple". Verse 3, "When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked for money".
Now, he'd seen them. He'd seen them. He saw them and so, he asked for money. "And Peter, along with John, looked straight at him. Peter, along with John, looked straight at him and they said to him, 'Look at us.'" Because see, he'd gotten so in the routine of, "Can I have some money? Can I have some money? Can I have...? Can I have some money? Can I have some money"? They're going, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Look at us. Look at us. Focus, right here, right here, right here". "And he turned to them expecting to get something from them. Peter said, 'I don't have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!' And then taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong".
I love that part of it because I love that he reached down and took him by the hand. Sometimes people just need a handful of faith from us, don't they, just a handful, just give them a little bit, just a little bit of help, just a little bit. Help him up just a little bit. Jumps up to his feet, I mean, he's leaping, praising God. He's just like all over the place, causing so much attention to be drawn to him. They end up in all manner of trouble, but they're testifying to the grace of God and going, "I'm gonna tell you something. It was not us. I promise you. He was looking at us like he was gonna get something from us. But what he got, he could only get from Jesus".
Keep that in mind, and I want you to look now at Acts 14. You're gonna see another little strange place where something like this happens. Acts chapter 14:8 through 10. This time it's gonna be the Apostle Paul. "I Lystra a man was sitting who was without strength in his feet, and had never walked, and had been lame from birth. And he listened as Paul spoke. And after looking directly at him and seeing that he had the faith to be healed, Paul said to him in a loud voice, 'Stand up on your feet!' And he jumped up and began walking around". After looking through directly at him, this is the same wording in the original language, "looking directly at him".
Focus, focus, focus. This is not gonna sound like an exciting story, but I cannot quit thinking about it. Natalie and Kathy, I'm trying to think if you were sitting at the table, I'm almost positive you were, Natalie, when Jenn Hamm told this story. Our coworker Jenn has a son who is a junior in high school. And so, right now she has him in classes to be trained as well as they can be to take the SAT. And so, the first night that they went, the parents were to go with them.
So, all the students that are gonna be in the class that's gonna be for X amount of weeks to try to get them ready for taking the SAT for college entrance exams. They're all there together. The parents are sitting in back of them for that first night, and the instructor has been doing this for like 20 years. He absolutely loves it. This is his thing. Maybe you and I can't imagine, why would it be his thing, but it's entirely his thing. I mean, it's just his calling. It's his vocation. He just like he enjoys doing it so much. He told those kids something that Jenn came and told us, and it just fixated in my brain. He said, "I can teach you math. I can have you ready to take your math exams". He said, "No problem. Even the poorer students, I can have you ready to take math". He said, "What I cannot do for you is teach you reading comprehension". And he said, "Our children are not learning to read". And he's not meaning can they read the words. He means that we are losing the attention it would take to actually read material and comprehend it.
Now, let me tell you, do you know that specialists are telling us, and all sorts of studies are showing, our brains are literally changing over our phones. Our inability, we're constant. We cannot keep our mind on anything. It has been everything. And I hope that it has. If you've tried really, really hard to keep your phone in your purse, how many times have you reached for it? I mean, I'll find myself, even when I'm committed to not looking at it, I'll find myself reaching for it. We have formed such an addiction, such an addiction to social media, such an addiction to reading things quickly, that we're not reading them at all.
Listen to me carefully. We will comment on articles we have not read because if we read the title, it is all we need to know. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? The only way this is going to change is for us to retrain ourselves. If you think "Oh, any old minute, I can undo that". Oh, no. I'm gonna ask you, when was the last time you read a book from beginning to end? Beginning to end? How many books have you started that you put up? Am I telling the truth here today? Because listen, the ramifications of this for the things of the Spirit are enormous. They are enormous because we have a calling that if we are not attentive to, we're gonna get to the end of our lives and we're gonna say on our deathbeds, "The Lord never came through for me. He never came through for me".
It's gonna be like, you know what? It wasn't that it wasn't there. It's that you were not looking. You were just like everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. There is a single-minded, wholehearted devotion that God calls for out of us and if we resist it, we're gonna be all over the place. And we're gonna try to do one thousand things to the glory of God and do none of them, none of them 'cause we cannot do one thousand things to the glory of God. There's this thing I pray over and over again, and it's based on the 16th chapter of the Book of Acts. And it's where Paul and his little group go down to the river so that they can see if there's anyone to minister to there when they hit a particular town. Because very often, if there was not a synagogue at a particular place, then people would meet at a river.
I just love the implications of that. And he found Lydia and her friends there. They had never met them, but it says that the Lord opened her heart to pay attention. And I just love that so much. I'm constantly asking him, "Open my heart to pay attention". Have you ever noticed that somebody, this is how our brain is being trained? Somebody's telling us something and we're looking straight at them, and we're 50 million places in our mind. If they said, "What did I just say to you"? We'd go like, "You know what? I know what in my spirit. I received it into my spirit. You know, I don't have to really think about it, here it just goes straight, goes straight on into my heart". You know, we're so full of it, aren't we? We're just so, we're just so full of it. "Oh, you know what? I was interceding for you while you were talking". Because we're not even listening. We've forgotten how to listen because we've forgotten how to focus.
And so, we don't look intently, we don't look intently into the perfect law of liberty. You want to know why many of us are still in bondage? It is not because the Scriptures aren't sitting there, the truth that can set us free. It is because what James 1 says is that we have to peer into the perfect law of liberty and fix our attention on it and not just be hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word. That's what's gonna set us free. But we don't look intently at anything anymore because we're just like jumping all over the place. And no, this is not the most moving part of the lesson, but it could be the most important. You are the only person who can demand your focus back. Is this how we're gonna do it? This is how we're gonna do it. We keep getting told over and over and over again.
People don't want to do lengthy Bible studies anymore. Told over and over again, "You know, we're gonna really, really need to make our sessions a lot shorter. They can only focus for about 15 minutes". I'm not doing it. I'm not doing it. Give me 20 people that still want to study. Give me 20 people that can attend to, attend to. We started a library at Living Proof, a little, mini theological library where people can come and study. And there is a little note in there that says, "Silence please. God is the only one that gets to talk in the study". So, to retrain ourselves how to read again. We cease to know how to be quiet, how to reflect on something. Rest the mind, rest the mind. Go on a walk with God, just rest the mind. Go be bored for a little while and watch what will come back to you. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
You know, there really are individuals that have learning challenges, legit, physiological and psychological challenges, like chronic anxiety or the physiological ones like ADHD. But for many of us, we're just giving it to ourselves. We're just giving it to ourselves. And there is a direct relationship between the inability to focus and all our anxiety that we're... because we can't settle. We can't settle. I don't want to live my life like this. I want some quiet back for my mind. And treat it like the addiction that it is because you're gonna want it back. You're gonna want to go right back to all those patterns because you're addicted to it, and I'm addicted to it. But are we willing to fight the fight until we can break that addiction and start reforming those new neuro pathways in our brain?
I want you to see something I think is so interesting. Where do I have y'all right now? I Have you in Acts 14, so I want you to get Acts 13 for a second. This intrigues me. I've told this a couple of times, and nobody is impressed with it. So, I have a bad feeling, but I'm gonna try it again because I just, I know somebody is gonna is gonna think this is interesting. I haven't found her yet, but somebody is going to. I want you to notice, okay, Acts 13, I'll go to about verse 4. "So being sent out by the Holy Spirit," this is Paul and Barnabas. It says that, "They arrived in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. And they had John as their assistant".
This is John Mark. "When they traveled the whole island as far as Paphos, they came across a sorcerer, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. And he was with the proconsul, an intelligent man. And this man summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (that is the meaning of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from them. But Saul, also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, stared straight", so we've got another staring intently, "at Elymas and said to him, 'You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery, you son of the devil and enemy of all that is right. Won't you ever stop perverting the straight path of the Lord? Now, look, the Lord's hand is against you. You are going to be blind, and you will not see the sun for a time.' And immediately a mist and darkness fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand".
The reason I bring this up is because, do you wonder probably the reason why people haven't responded to this is they're going, "Because, Beth, you're wrong about it," and there's every possibility. But has it occurred to you that maybe Paul is trying to get him to go the same road as Paul and maybe his eyes would see? Anybody getting that with me? Isn't that what we want to do? Because, you know, and it worked for Paul. Paul had been struck blind, and it was in that blindness that he came to see such a light that blinded him to... sometimes the Lord has to just go, "Scratch it, and let's start over". The reason why I say this is because he didn't strike him blind by the power of Jesus forever. He said for a time, and he had to be led around by the hand.
You want to go look and see how close that is to Paul's story? And I think sometimes we're going like, "I need it to happen to you just like it happened me because it worked for me". We don't know if it worked for him or not. God knows how to open our eyes whatever it takes, whatever it may be. I want you to go with me now to Matthew chapter 14. Matthew chapter 14, I want to show you something I just find fascinating. Okay, I'mma tell you somethin'. The Word is about to speak so strongly to us that it's going to almost be offensive to us. Let's let it do its work because the Lord does not ever speak that he does not speak the truth in love. So, some things just need to be blurted out there, and he's about to blurt some things out to us. And let's hang in there. Let's see hang in there with it.
I want to start reading to you at Matthew 14:34. "When they had crossed over, they came to the shore of Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him," this is Jesus, "they alerted the whole vicinity and brought to him all who were sick. They begged him that they might only touch the end of his robe, and as many as touched it were healed. Then Jesus was approached by..." Did you see that "then"? "Then Jesus was approached by Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem, who asked, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they don't wash their hands when they eat?' And he answered them, 'Why did you break God's commandment because of your tradition? For God said: Honor your father and your mother: and, Whoever speaks evil of father and mother must be put to death. But you say, "Whoever tells his father or mother, whatever benefit you might have received from me is a gift committed to the temple."'"
In other words, he's saying, "You have found a really convenient way to keep from taking care of your parents". "'"He does not have to honor his father". 'In this way, you have nullified the Word of God because of your tradition. Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And they worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines, human commands"'. Summoning the crowd, he told them, 'Listen and understand: It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person.' And then the disciples came up and told him, 'Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?'" "Oh, no, I did not know that, really, really? I'm so scared". "He replied, 'Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted. Leave them alone"!
This is what I want you to see. "They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit". I gotta tell you something. One of the very heavy duty things that we need to attend to today because any of us who are in Christ, especially if we're at all outward with our faith, we're guides. And I've asked the Lord and searched my own heart, am I a blind guide? Because I can certainly hear people tell me that I am. Am I that? I pled to the Lord this week, "Give me eyes to see and where I am a blind guide, open my eyes to see".