Spiritual Examination

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Several years ago my wife had her eyes checked after coming to the conclusion that things in life weren’t intended to be blurry.  It was tough for her, getting glasses, because she was relatively young, and if we’re being honest, she wasn’t quite sure that she would find frames that would go with all of her outfits.

The doc said that her eyes had experienced drastic changes over a course of a few years given the number of kids she had given birth to.  Who knew that having 5 kids by the time you were 30-years old would cause major hormonal changes in your body including the hormones involving your eyes?

Stacy, my wife, eventually found some frames that worked for what she was looking for, and when the day came for the new eyewear to be picked up from the optometrist, I was the one to pick them up for her.

I was at lunch with a good friend of mine when I got the call, “Honey.  Can you run to the optometrist and pick up my glasses?  That’s okay…you can do it after lunch.  Thanks!”  It wasn’t long before my buddy and I were on our way out the door to get the glasses.

Now here’s the thing.  My buddy, Drew, wears glasses.  Not just any glasses.  We’re talking straight from the bottom of an old Coke-a-Cola soda glass kind of glasses.  One minute with Drew’s glasses on for the common man and, boom, instant migraine.

On our way out to pick up the glasses, Drew began asking me questions about my eyesight.  It didn’t take long for me to explain to him that I had perfect eyes, 20-20 vision, and had no need for glasses.  It didn’t matter what I said to Drew, he was convinced that getting your eyes checked was something that everyone should do annually.  As I pulled up to the optometrist’s office I saw a sign in the window that read, “FREE eye exam.”  One look at that sign and I was in.  I’d go along with Drew’s assertion that getting your eyes checked was both important and necessary, especially if it was free.  Before I knew it my name was called and I was on my way to proving to the world that my eyes were flawless.

It wasn’t long before I realized that I was in some sort of modern torture chamber.  In this chamber they had me sit with my head against a huge pair of binoculars.  The lady administering the test told me to be prepared as I was about to experience some air in my eyes.  Some air?  Are you kidding me?  What I was expecting is what my mom would do to me as a kid when I had an eyelash stuck in my eye.  You know, the gentle blow.  What I got was something very different.  I got sucker punched by the Mike Tyson of air blowing right in the eyeball.  What a treat that was!

After the basic tests I was quickly ushered into the doctor’s office and sat down in a chair that looked like they took it straight from the Starship Enterprise.  I was obviously excited at all of the buttons and was looking forward to getting the most out of my free eye exam.

The doctor soon came in, put this bionic machine in front of my eyes, and started spinning the Price Is Right wheel in front of my eyes asking me to tell her when I could see clearly.  Letters.  Numbers.  Shapes.  It was a wild ride and I was sure I was going to win.

At the end of my eye exam the doctor began speaking Latin to me, or at least it seemed as though it was a foreign language, using terminology that I had never heard before.  She explained to me that I had an astigmatism is my right eye that was in the shape of a football, but was supposed to be more basketball in shape.  Though I was tracking with the sports analogies, it still wasn’t adding up.

For several minutes the optometrist wrote while asking me a battery of questions about what I do in the course of my day: activities, schedule, family, school, etc.  In what seemed like an eternity, the doctor soon looked up from the paper that she had been so engulfed in and said to me, “You need glasses.”  My response was classic, “What?  Me?  Glasses?  You’ve got to be kidding me.”  But she didn’t stop there.  The eye doctor quickly followed up her statement with a question and statement, “Do you know what bifocals are?” she asked.  “You mean like what my grandpa wears?” I suggested.  “Yes!” she said.  “The good news is that you don’t need bifocals.”  Relieved, I perked up in my chair, but that sensation was short-lived as she immediately followed up her encouragement with another statement, “You need trifocals.”

It didn’t take long for my free eye exam to end up costing me over $300 in prescription glasses; tri-focal glasses, the kind people with really bad eyes, not people like me wear.

When I got the glasses and followed the doctor’s instructions, it didn’t take long for me to begin seeing things differently, clearly, and with a whole new perspective.  I was amazed at how things looked – things that were so commonplace – things that I had looked at everyday of my life for better than 30 years, but was now seeing with clarity.  It was amazing!

Let me ask you a question.  When was the last time you had your spiritual eyes examined?

David, in his Psalm of prayer, writes: 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.” (Psalm 139:23-24/NIV)

What David was doing was essentially asking God for a Spiritual check-up.

There are many reasons for a check-up like the one King David sought God on.  Whether it is we are not being spiritually fed and we begin to experience a form of malnourishment, or we aren’t using our spiritual gifts to the point that they seemingly begin to atrophy, the point is that there are several things that can cause us to need spiritual attention in our lives, though we may not even be aware of our need for the treatment or care.

If you were to ask God to do a Spiritual examination of your life, what would the results of be?

I think so often people go through their lives, day by day, without giving their spiritual self a second thought.  People may think: “I believe in God” or “I went through confirmation as a kid” or “If there was a problem, I’m sure it would be pretty obvious.”  The problem is that, like my eyes, I had become so used to living with an astigmatism that my perspective changed to the point where I believed that I was fine all the while having some pretty significant flaws in my vision.  I was seeing things the way that my eyes had adjusted to seeing them, but no sooner that I put my progressive trifocals did I start to see things in a whole new perspective.  I finally was able to see things as they were meant to be seen, and not as I had grown accustomed to seeing.

Many things in this life can cause our perspectives about God, church, and even our faith identity, to become skewed.  And though we may not even notice that there is a problem as we soon learn to adapt and adjust, if left untreated our spiritual lives will begin to diminish, never allowing us to experience God for the way He has designed for us to experience Him.

Much like wearing my glasses, there are things that each of us can do to help us adjust our perspectives and see God with a clearer perspective.

What I am suggesting is that each of us be intentional about having the Holy Spirit examine our lives, that we get involved in a faith community that will encourage spiritual growth, that we read our Bibles in an effort to experience God and better understand the things of God, that we pray, and that we begin to intentionally live out our faith in word and in deed.

Much like my experience at the optometrist, you may be surprised by what you find as well as how much of a difference changing how you live your life will help you see things in a whole new perspective.