Matney: Overcoming our blind spots
One of the most important lessons for us to learn and practice when driving a car is to always look over our shoulder when changing lanes or merging into traffic because there are blind spots, or areas our periphery vision can’t see, and we run the risk of crashing into another person’s car. In today’s column, I want to help us spiritually look over our shoulders so we don’t crash in life.
We all have blind spots in our personalities and our relationships with God and our fellow man. Even spiritual giants like the apostle Paul recognized this. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:4: “For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.”
Another important lesson in life, especially as we get older, is to have regular medical check-ups. They can help us detect health issues early before they become a bigger problem. In today’s devotional I want to help us take a spiritual health exam so we can detect our areas of weakness. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?”
So, let’s get on the road, being careful to look over our shoulders to avoid the blind spots. Let’s head on over to the doctor’s office for a check-up. Let’s ask the good doctor, the Holy Spirit, to help us examine ourselves to see if we’re spiritually healthy. Let’s pray the prayer King David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24:
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
The following self-exam questions are from a book by Jerry Bridges titled, “Who Am I? Identity in Christ.” Chapter 5 lists some excellent questions for us to use in examining our hearts. Take some time to pray through the following questions:
- What is my attitude toward God? Do I gladly acknowledge my dependence on him and my accountability to him?
- What is my attitude toward my sin? Am I concerned or indifferent about it?
- What is my attitude toward Jesus Christ? Do I trust him as the one who died for my sin on the cross?
- What is my attitude toward the Bible? Do I truly want to grow in my understanding and application of it in my life?
- What is my attitude toward prayer? Do I also want to grow in this area of my life, or am I quite content to see prayer as an occasional call out to God for help?
- (And I would add another one): What is my attitude toward my fellowman? Do I love my neighbor as myself?
Bridges writes, “These are important questions that we should seek to answer truthfully. The stakes are too high to ignore them or play games with them. Our eternal destiny is at stake and eternity lasts forever. There is no end to it.”
Let us be completely honest with ourselves and with God. He is on our side and wants to help us avoid unnecessary problems, but we must be honest. Tragically, too many don’t look over their shoulders to change lanes and they don’t have regular spiritual checkups. They are too much like the people described in Psalm 36:2:
“In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin.”
So, prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to help you honestly answer the questions. Use these questions for a look over your shoulders or as a health exam to avoid a breakdown in spiritual direction.
The good news is that God is on our side. He knows the lane changes we’re prone to make and the condition of our health. As Psalms 139:1-3 says, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”
The heavenly Father knows each of us pretty well. If we’ll ask him sincerely to help us overcome our blind spots and weaknesses, he will most certainly be glad to help us.
Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.