by Pastor Tim Burt
My youngest son Matthew needed glasses when he was young. I remember times I would look at him, staring in disbelief at how smudged he could let his glasses become—yet still tried to see through them. I suppose it was normal for his young age. He simply didn’t care and it never seemed to bother him. Renee and I were constantly asking for them so we could clean them. We simply wanted him to be able to see better. They were so smudged and dirty it was amazing he would see anything at all.
I too often feel like I’m surrounded by Christians who have their spiritual eyes heavily smudged. There are so many things that don’t seem to know or see that the Lord teaches us in His Word, that would strengthen our faith and bring so much more peace. And I think that spiritual eyes get smudged because Christians don’t read their Bibles or get to church and hear the word like they should.
The world along with all its sin, problems and drama, has a tendency to smudge our spiritual eyesight every day. I imagine God feeling like I did with Matthew, always wanting him to hand me his glasses so I could help him see more clearly. God’s word is like a miracle-cleaner that cleans the smudges from the eyes of our understanding, and helps us see life through God’s eyes—clearly through the eyes of faith. Reading His Word, the preaching of the word of God, and tools (like Fresh Manna) help clean our spiritual glasses daily—if we will yield to that.
You know what I’m talking about. Trouble shows up in your day and quickly puts on knot in your stomach. You start feeling anxious, wondering how you are going to deal with this situation. Your spiritual eyesight becomes severely smudged and you can’t see a solution. Instantly your anxiety grows. But then you open up your Bible and your eyes fall upon a verse that speaks to you. Isaiah 54:10 (NLT2) says, “For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.” You read it and then read it again, and as you do, it’s like the eyes of your understanding are wiped clear. It instantly feels like a warm blanket on a cold day, or the comforting hand of God reminding you of His love and covenant with you because of Jesus. You read a little further and it says, “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13 (NKJV) You think, Lord, I am your child. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for already bringing me back into your peace. Just like that, your spiritual eyesight has been wiped, your faith, strengthened, and your reminder of God’s love and presence in your life refreshed. That’s God wanting to grab your glasses and help you see more clearly!
And then He reminds us that there’s another spiritual glass cleaner that helps us see more of the awesome promises of His love and goodness in our lives. It’s called the spirit or attitude of thanksgiving. Honestly, I am sometimes amazed at how unthankful and how unappreciative people can be. Many would be in denial of this truth because they are blind to how unthankful they are but it is too often true. We need. We want. God helps, but we don’t thank Him. Not like we should. We should live in the spirit of thanksgiving starting with our salvation and thanks for what Jesus has done, and for His promise to helps us always. The spirit of thanksgiving helps us see and know God’s love and participation in our life. But an unthankful spirit smudges. And here is how you can know. People with a thankful spirit are thankful all the time—and express it and show it. But unthankful people simply don’t—even though they think they do. And there is evidence!
Luke 17:12-19 NIV says, “As Jesus was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When He saw them, He said, “Go. Show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him–and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Do you see that only one came back to thank Jesus? Because his heart was full of thanksgiving, he got something more from God. All of them were cleansed of leprosy but to the thankful one Jesus said, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” He got something more from God. His eyes were open to see who Jesus was. He could see that Jesus was God. That is why he came back praising God and throwing himself at Jesus’ feet. His thanksgiving brought him more than healing. It brought him eternal life. A heart of thanksgiving will open your eyes to more of God and result in more of His blessing in your life!
Sometimes we have so many things we need help from the Lord with, that we don’t take notice of all the things He is doing or has done in our lives. Unthankfulness keeps us focused inward at self. It smudges the lens of our spiritual eyesight and keeps us from noticing and appreciating the things that the Lord does do for us in our life. Having a thankful heart for what He has done wipes the lens of our vision to see more of Him working in our life. Seeing the Lord work in our lives builds our faith and helps us to trust Him even more. The result is, thankful experience and clearly see more of God in their life. It’s really the truth! This is why Philippians 4:6 NIV tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.” God wants us to pray and ask His help in everything but the question is, do we unsmudge our sight with His Word regularly? We need to wipe those lenses with ongoing and continuous thanksgiving.
When David came to Saul to tell him why he could defeat Goliath (while the rest of the army was terrified,) David told Saul of a previous experience. We can read it in 1 Samuel 17:36-37 NIV. “He said, Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. In the next verse he says how he killed the lion and the bear. He says, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”
David knew God was behind every victory. And he was one of the greatest of all praisers and thankers. The Psalms are our record of his thanksgivings. Because he was thankful to the Lord, it helped keep him from pride, helped him see God’s hand in all his victories, and gave him great faith for future battles.
God’s word wipes our lens when we walk in a spirit of thankfulness to Him and others. Are you the one thankful leper who was healed or are you like the other unthankful ones. You can know by simply observing yourself. Do you see what God has done and is doing in your life? Are you thankful? Do you have the spirit of thankfulness? If you do, it won’t be occasional. It constantly sees and spills out to others! You’ll be thankful to the person who is serving you, to the person who is helping you, to your spouse and family for the blessing they are to you. You’ll see the cup half full instead of half empty. Your Bible, the preaching of the word, and the spirit of thanksgiving will all unsmudge your glasses if you will give yourself over to them. And your life will be so much richer and full of God’s presence in your life!
Colossians 3:17 (NIV) “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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