Monthly Archives: June 2014
A myopic bent-over vision
The lack of objectivity in prayer is invariably the result of the lack of spiritual objectivity in many aspects of life. A lack of spiritual objectivity is a type of spiritual myopia. This is a very important principle to examine. The ability to lift up your head can significantly change your history and give you a new perspective to your existence.
The Bible speaks of a woman who although she persevered for many years in the church had lost her objectivity and suffered spiritual myopia. The focus of her spiritual vision was adversely affected due to a structural trauma that she suffered. She was bent over by a spirit of infirmity.
Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:10-16)
This woman represents those in the church that for some reason lose their ability to focus on God’s will. I believe that the principal aspect of vision is the spiritual objectivity through which we face life, the future and eternity. Vision without objectivity falls prey to Satan’s manipulation. This spiritual myopia becomes a servant of the enemy spiritually imprisoning many people .
This woman’s situation demonstrates more than anything else, how religiosity can cause people to be bent over with a distorted vision and spiritual myopia. The Pharisees with their legalistic notions were even more bent over than this unfortunate woman.
The Bible affirms, “Without vision, the people perish”. Much of the corruption that has jaded great ministries springs from this principle that people walk through life bent over with no spiritual objective in sight. Lack of objectivity wounds purpose and compromises destiny. We can observe four facts that reveal significant spiritual principles in this woman’s story.
This woman was spiritually myopic but not blind
It is important to understand the subtlety of this detail. Many people have vision, some have too much vision, but what they don’t have is objectivity. Vision without objectivity loses its practicality becoming empty, impractical or stubborn in a negative focus. Life becomes static and captive to the superficiality of laziness.
The principal objective of the enemy is not to blind us, but compromise our spiritual objectivity, tearing away our prophetic ability to focus and invest on the correct goal. In this way, people stop working towards the solution and begin to overburden the ministry and cause problems in the church. It seems like a universal principle that whoever does not produce fruit causes problems. This dynamic facilitates the action of the enemy against a ministry.
This woman may have even had 2020 vision, but it was subject to infirmity. Because of the fact that she was bent over her vision was poorly positioned. Something always pulled her vision down. The only view that she was predisposed to focus on was the ground at her own feet. Jesus called her bondage a prison of Satan.
Spiritual myopia and deformed structures
Structural problems always lead to other problems because of the simple matter of collateral effects. Some structural deformities can be so serious that one loses the ability to stand erect. The verse tells us that she “was bent over and could in no way raise herself up”. Perhaps with plenty of effort she would be able to see what was in front of her. Her vision was seriously compromised because of an infirmity that affected her physical structure.
The backbone or spine speaks of moral posture and character. Someone once joked that the Lions couldn’t eat Daniel because he had a lot of backbone. According to human anatomy, the bones of the spine are the hardest in the human body. Character is the backbone of the soul.
Just as the principal causes of physical crippling have to do with damage to the spine, in the same way, damage to our character cripples our spiritual life and vision. There is no way to separate these two things. Many traumas and abuses suffered in life end up conditioning our will to a sinful routine that corrupts the character, affects our sensitivity and distorts vision.
The biggest problem in the world today is not lack of resources as many insist and affirm, but a lack of character and absence of purpose. Society is running up a huge deficit of structural morality and objective vision contributing to an ever-expanding and universal experience of human suffering.
This chronic shortage of objectivity suffocates the desire to live and is one of the principle entryways through which depression enters and plagues a person. Depression is always founded upon a lack of hope. On the other hand, objectivity engenders a solid hope expressing the essence of faith and the desire to live.
Spiritual myopia and an unhealthy focus
If the spiritual structure is deformed, the focus becomes misdirected and thus unhealthy. It is important that we perceive spiritual problems and infirmities that compromise our vision and consequently our spiritual objectivity. Too often, these spiritual problems draw us into selfishness considering only our own interests and problems.
We can make a list of some of these basic aspects of the unhealthy focus of our vision. Selfishness is vision focused on our own interests; criticism is vision focused on our own disappointments; self-pity is vision focused on our weaknesses; inferiority is vision focused on our own inability; covetousness is vision unhealthily focused on our own desires and sensuality is vision unhealthily focused on our own feelings. The list goes on. This spiritual crookedness defines the essence of idolatry. This examination confirms the old destroying perspective of sin, which can be defined as “missing the mark”.
All of these sins affect the spiritual structure of life and deform our character forcing our eyes onto our own naval. For this reason God prophetically challenges us (Isaiah 58) to depart from ourselves, having a broken will and our soul completely open to the needs of others. Brokenness causes our life to spring forth with the solutions of God for a world in need. Isaiah uses figures like a watered garden and springs whose waters never cease. Only broken people can perceive other’s needs and the urgency of the kingdom of God. Brokenness is a great key for us to develop a prophetic structure that makes a life of objectivity and effectiveness possible.
Overcoming spiritual myopia through acceptance of diversity
God objectively looks at our lack of objectivity. We should thank Him for that. God is a personal being. The Bible calls him the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; a God of people and not a cosmic force. He is a person that objectively desires to relate to us.
In order to be objective we must respect uniqueness and value personality. An error in objectivity that many people frequently make is prioritizing “things” instead of “people”.
God also sees us as an individual in a crowd, before he calls us by name. It was God who planned and formed our identity. Everything in the moral world works personally and specifically. God treats us in a just and unique way. There is nothing more unjust than treating different people in the same manner. Such was the great mistake of the failed communist regime.
Objectivity in this sense can be defined as the capacity to evidence uniqueness and promote unity for the sake of diversity. Each person, with his unique characteristics, has the potential to fit in and interact with the universe of which he belongs. For this to happen, sensibility and empathy are necessary. Jesus was able to show compassion to the religious legalists despite their hard hearts, He was able to see the blindness of the blind, touch the lepers without contaminating himself and feel the insensibility of the insensitive. He knew how to objectively deal with the root of the problem in each person’s situation.
Overcoming spiritual myopia through positive influence
He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20)
Unfortunately we live in a world where the majority of people are spiritually lost and for this reason are failing to properly live out their lives. We live in an age in which few people understand what life is and how we should live it. The proof of this is the number of people filling up the classes of psychology and a growing ocean of those who experiment with existentialism, new consciousness, new age, drugs, the occult, and so many other forms of alternate reality.
We must not abandon spiritual objectivity because most people have no defined spiritual purpose for their life. Unfortunately, people who do nothing that is spiritual always want someone to do nothing with them. We must be aware of the people who distance us from God’s purpose and those who draw us closer to it.
Effective prayer and spiritual objectivity
The secret of successful prayer is to know how to focus requests in prayer according to the prophetic need of the moment. We must learn how to cultivate and employ spiritual objectivity as the target of our prayer. Jesus did this when he prayed for his disciples.
I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. (John 17:9)
Defining spiritual objectivity
I believe that this verse expresses the most complete definition of spiritual objectivity given in the Bible. Spiritual objectivity is simply the ability to “hit the right target” in prayer. There are far too many people aiming at the wrong target.
Many people proceed to climb what they perceive as the “ladder of success” only to discover that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall when they reach the top. Objectivity implies leaning the ladder on the right wall in order to reach the right target. For Christians this means investing in the things and people who the Father has given them to distribute to others.
Objectivity is also the power to transform our dreams into reality through elaborating and following executable projects. Many people idealize projects that are so abstract and unreal that they are impossible to implement into anything doable. This is frustrating. Every illusion is a promise of disappointment. Many people never wake up to live out and experience their dreams. To cultivate the art of dreaming is very important; however, it is more important to know how these dreams will materialize in a practical manner. Objectivity is one of the principle measurements of distinguishing dreams from illusions.
The practice of spiritual objectivity speaks of the ability to establish living examples in accordance with the divine plan. We must hear God’s voice in order to recognize the right priorities that we must focus on in harmony with the moment. Spiritual objectivity is the fruit of intimacy with God’s divine purpose manifesting itself through a deep sense of destiny concerning our inheritance in God
Spiritual objectivity in prayer
The lack of objectivity communicated in many prayer meetings is tragic. Many prayers are as long-winded as they are empty, as religious as they are mystic and as foggy as they are unbelieving. It is common to hear prayers that are the exact opposite of what Jesus prayed: “Lord, bless all of the nations of the world and all the churches on the face of the earth!” Jesus simply prayed: “I ask not for the whole world”.
We can define prayer without objectivity as prayer that requires no evaluation of results. Effective prayer of the righteous involves specific motives and implies unquestionable effects and answers. They are shots fired under the precise guidance of a target. Spiritual objectivity in prayer demonstrates the exercise of faith. Vague and wide-reaching prayers attest to religiosity. They try to impress, but deep down inside those who offer them do not believe what they are praying.
Jesus did not meander in prayer; He enjoyed a focused intimacy with God through the Holy Spirit that pointed to prioritized responsibilities. He knew where He wanted to go. His prayers had a clear focus. When we speak of prioritized responsibilities we are principally speaking about praying for people and for the vision that God has directly given to us.
Jesus made it a point to limit His prayer. His prayers were short and sweet. His disciples would soon be under the same crossfire. He said: “I do not pray for the world”. He targeted his prayer to his primary scope of responsibility. Although they were few, Jesus interpreted the value of his responsibility to his disciples as far superior to that of what he had with respect to the whole world. This focusing power is distinctly impressive and strategically necessary.
We have the responsibility to know “who” and “what” God has entrusted to us. If you do not know whom God has entrusted to you, you must find out, and begin to cover these people in prayer. We must learn to pray specifically for the people who God has chosen and has given us to care for independently of our present position of leadership. These people constitute and represent a specific purpose of God, which we must strive to attain. Do not shrink from this objective responsibility! Do not question God as Cain did irresponsibly inquiring, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). God always entrusts people to other people.
The greatest responsibilities are usually small ones. God pays attention to how we face small responsibilities. This is the way that God tests us and knows whether we will remain faithful to Him or not. God is adamant in this: if we are not faithful in the little, we will not be faithful with much. No matter how much you desire or even “pray” for much, if you are not being faithful in the little, your prayer will be irresponsible and if God were to answer it, you could even be destroyed. Therefore, God will not give you the much.