When I was 7 or 8 years old, I questioned my vision for the first time. I played baseball throughout my childhood. I was never a power hitter, but I was fast and could always make contact with the ball. Well, until one Fall baseball season. I couldn’t hit the ball. Like at all. Suddenly one of the things I was best at was really difficult. It made me question my skill.

That same Fall, I started to notice at school that it wasn’t easy to read the board from the back of the room. At some point I realized I was squinting really hard.

It took some time, but I finally asked my parents to go to an eye doctor. I believed something was off, but my parents didn’t believe me. Sure, they still took me to the eye doctor, but they figured I was just jealous of my many classmates who were starting to wear glasses.

That eye exam was proof that I was flawed; my vision wasn’t right. Strangely that was validating. It was proof that I wasn’t just terrible at hitting baseballs. I had a vision problem that affected my interaction with the world around me.

As people of faith, we are often dishonest with ourselves. We minimize our doubts to feel more confident. We hide our motivations from ourselves to feel more righteous. In the midst of our own self-deception, it’s a blessing for Christians that our Bible is more honest about ourselves than we are.

As people of faith, we are often dishonest with ourselves. Share on X

Matthew tells a story of a time where John the Baptist doubts. Matthew’s Gospel begins with John preparing the way for the Messiah and then baptizing Jesus. Flash forward, now John writes from prison to question whether Jesus is in fact the messiah. When John hears what Jesus has been up to, he wonders: well are you the messiah or not?

Jesus responds, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.” (Mt 11:4-5).

Jesus invites John’s messengers to look at his life and ministry and answer for themselves. Jesus wasn’t about fluff. Jesus was about people’s lives changing. And when we invite people into real, authentic faith, sometimes the blind receive their sight. Some who think they see fine realize that they have never had good vision, or haven’t in a long time.

Jesus wasn't about fluff. Jesus was about people's lives changing. Share on X

How are your spiritual eyes? Can you see God at work in the world around you? Can you identify who is looking for help and transformation?

The Christian faith isn’t meant to simply be an internal thing, just a cozy, warm heart feeling. Our faith is meant to be lived out in the world. Our spiritual vision is meant to change the way we live.

The Christian faith isn't meant to simply be an internal thing, just a cozy, warm heart feeling. Our faith is meant to be lived out in the world. Share on X

I didn’t get glasses as a child just for the sake of wearing glasses. Glasses helped me interact with the world. Glasses helped me hit a baseball. What good is our faith if it gives us new vision and we don’t use it.

We often trade the pinnacle of spiritual vision for easier things to see. We usually don’t have to squint to see our own selfish ambitions or our preferences about the way to do things.

Preaching in view of a call, my first sermon at the First Baptist Church of Jackson, MI, was from this text, Matthew 11. It would have been easy for the congregation to be distracted from looking for God by showing up to look at who the next Pastor might be. I am a pastor because I want to help people see God at work in their lives. I don’t need them to see me at work.

It takes maturity to see with God’s eyes. A maturity that grows from a life of prayer, worship, and discipleship. When you do find that vision, listen to Jesus. Go and tell what you hear and see.

Listen to the sermon referenced above from July 15, 2018.