Spiritual Myopia: Can a Christian be spiritually nearsighted? How to prevent?
Spiritual myopia. What is it? At the eye doctor the other day, I was reminded of nearsightedness. That is why many people need glasses. They can see objects close up but not far away. The far away objects appear to them as a blur. Until, the glasses are put on. Then they can see the big picture. LIfe gets a whole lot clearer when this happens.
Before becoming a Christian, we are all walking around without the precious light of Christ, not really knowing there is a different way. Jesus said He is the light of the world, and all who follow Him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12). But, for the Christian, does the Bible speak of a spiritual myopia (a spiritual nearsightedness)? Is it possible for a professed Christian (someone who says they are a Christian) to be nearsighted…spiritually? Actually, the Bible does speak on this. In 2 Peter 1:9, the writer says, “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins”. That was the Kings James Version. Here it is in another version (ESV): “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins”.
What are “these qualities” referring to? Is this saying that a person who says they are a Christian (one who “was cleansed from his former sins” means someone who is a Christian now and received God’s forgiveness) can be nearsighted?
This is speaking of a professed Christian that can be nearsighted, spiritually. What is the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”. The Bible says that we are to test ourselves/our Christianity. How can we know that we are seeing clearly as a Christian and not walking around blind? If we weren’t seeing clearly, we wouldn’t know it or know any differently. People go years without glasses not knowing there is a problem. That is where the Bible helps us.
One answer is found in “these qualities”. The Bible says that those Christians who lack “these qualities” are suffering from spiritual myopia!
Here are the qualities in 2 Peter 1:5-11…
Yes, we are saved by grace through faith. But, our Christian lives are not supposed to stop at faith. We are to “add to our faith”:
- Virtue (from the Greek word aretēn, this means “moral excellence”)
- Knowledge (from the Greek word gnōsin, this includes knowledge of the scriptures and discernment between the truth and lies: a resistance to lies and rejection of false religion and false religious books/systems)
- Self-Control (from the Greek word enkrateian)
- Patience (from the Greek word hypomonēn, or endurance/perserverance/patient waiting/steadfastness especially in tough times or suffering, like Job)
- Godliness (from the Greek word eusebeian, this means righteousness/holiness, and this includes telling the truth because God cannot lie, Heb. 6:18; this includes worshipping only one God, not false religion)
- Brotherly Kindness (from the Greek word philadelphian, this means mutual affection; tenderness; fervent, bubbling-over love and kindness; see Ephesians 4:32 and 1 John 4:20)
- Finally! Love (from the Greek word agapēn, this means God’s kind of love/charity, and includes praying even for enemies; Matthew 5:44)
There are the seven additional qualities to prevent spiritual myopia. If we lack these things, as a Christian, we have forgotten where we came from. We have forgotten God’s forgiveness of our sins. But, if we strive diligently at these qualities, we will “make our calling and election sure”, and will “never fall”, and “will receive an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven”.
The lack of agapēn love and brotherly kindness amongst Christians today is just plain grieving. Even worse is this happens at church, a place that should be safe. Many people today complain of Christian hypocrites, understandably. Many go to church, only to be met with unjust or false judgment, condemnation, abuse, etc. Look at all the physical and/or spiritual abuses from the Catholic Church, Calvary Chapels, etc. It’s rampant. And, for that reason, many question God and Christianity altogether. They may be tempted to give up in their faith. Nothing is more confusing than a professing Christian acting in hate, shunning, etc., fellow Christians. 1 John 4:20 says that even though these people claim to love God and to be Christians, their dirty looks, lies, shunning, etc. prove otherwise: “If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”. There are those Christian hypocrites who lack these qualities. These are the nearsighted professing Christians that the Bible is speaking of. They have forgotten the big picture. All they need to do is put on the spiritual glasses, and strive toward these seven qualities. Jesus told us to love one another. He was even a “friend of sinners”. He loved people. The only people in scripture that Jesus had a problem with and did not speak kindly about were the false teachers and evil leaders of the day (Luke 13:32; 2 Peter 2:1,17; Matthew 7:15; 2 Tim. 3:8; 2 Peter 2:2; etc, etc.). I heard Matthew 24:51 on the radio the other day. It was speaking of people who are (professed Christian) hypocrites.
Sometimes our vision is clouded, even as Christians. Even as leaders. God still loves us greatly and gives us another chance. That is why He cares about us and is our great optometrist, showing us the right way to see. If we are humble enough to accept the vision correction.
If we do these seven qualities, as Christians, we will be prepared for heaven (“for so an entrance shall be provided to you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” vs. 11). Salvation is a gift. But, the true Christian who is “saved” will have these qualities in increasing measure. This is also why the Bible speaks of “fruit”. Jesus said in John 15:2, “Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit” and Matthew 7:19, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire”.
Is there anywhere else in scripture that speaks of prepared Christians versus unprepared Christians? Yes, many, but one in particular is the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. The foolish virgins called Jesus “Lord”. They were professed Christians. The wise virgins also called Jesus “Lord”. They were also professed Christians. They were all church-goers! But, what made them different? Here is the Parable that Jesus spoke:
I hope you have enjoyed this study on spiritual myopia. None of us are perfect, including me. There have been times where we have all been blind or nearsighted. Maybe our glasses became foggy. Maybe a cloud got in the way of our vision. However, if we strive diligently toward these qualities, the reward will be great. We will be a prepared, clear-visioned, wise Christian. Thankfully, God loves us to give us another chance, and gives us His Son Jesus as the light for our lives.