I was kind of stunned when my optician told me I had cataracts. I think it stunned me because, my vision is fine, at least, according to me. I haven’t noticed any of the, you know, symptoms that typically come with this condition. And besides, cataracts are what other people get, not me; add to that older people get them. I’m only 66. I’ll be older tomorrow. So, I guess y0u can have cataracts without knowing it, but eventually the symptoms become obvious, and then you become Captain Obvious!
Speaking about cataracts, join me in this week’s spin on the not so obvious, but lethal condition impairing the vision of the heart. I want to talk about the eyes of the heart and the cataract that grows there. What are the eyes of the heart? Does my heart have eyes?
Religion supplies the opportunity for a subtle, yet powerful deception that prevents people from seeing the truth. Incidentally, I’m not speaking about the true religion seen throughout the New Testament. I’m referring to the modern moral therapeutic deism that is being passed off as Christianity. Our mental eyesight has been clouded over by a veil of many names. I’m calling it here as a cataract. You could call it others things; I’ll probably get around to doing that in future posts, but for now cataract will do.
You probably already guessed it, but in case you haven’t, I’m not the guru on truth or any other transcendent matter. But what’s lurking around in Christian assemblies from pulpit to pew is something vastly different from that of the passion revealed through Jesus of Nazareth and the first wave of apostolic leadership that followed after His resurrection. Packaged by clichés and meaningless rhetoric, we are witnessing a veiled substitute for the living Christ. In general, people are religious without realizing their condition just like you can have cataracts without realizing it .
This innate condition came with you when you were born; a condition that hides the truth in plain sight, but out of view. It keeps you from identifying what’s hidden to your sight. After all, we must admit, life’s greatest treasures are right under our nose. So where would you hide that kind of stuff? I would hide it where you’d think you are most sure you would find it . If the treasure is hid there is something mesmerizing that happens as a result. You’re convinced along with the maddening throng that you found it, when in fact, you’re incarcerated by superstition.
If you have no clue what I’m talking about here, no worries; people are always asking me, “What do you mean by that”? I don’t usually do a good job making things clear, and I’ll blame it on an excited brain, because I’m always all over the place when sharing about this stuff that is not so obvious. Ok, maybe some examples will help.
Example of Prayer- For as long as I can remember, people in general, have a perception of prayer that goes something like this. “You know, prayer is simply talking to God”. If that’s true, and I believe it is, than talking to God is difficult, time consuming, regulated, systemized, formulated, devotional, and done only when I feel God is approachable. In other words, we keep saying things like, “prayer is talking to God”, then act out why it’s not that simple.
The first mention of prayer, though it wasn’t called that, is in Eden when the Lord walked in fellowship with Adam. The record shows that God enjoyed walking in the garden around sun down and talking with man, was a common thing. This first recorded dialogue was initiated by God. I wasn’t there, but my guess is, it wasn’t anything like we could imagine. I mean man walking with God, the God who created the universe and everything in it, really? If you can imagine that, you’re either a genius, a cyborg, or born again!
The scene described in Genesis doesn’t look difficult, time consuming, regulated, systemized, formulated, devotional in nature, or done when God is only approachable. By the way, it’s interesting to take note, this first recorded dialogue happens as Adam is about to veil his own glory with a fig leaf. This documents the first hand made veil production to cover his nakedness because of his shame. Hence, we have the birthing of religion, a mechanism that takes the truth and covers it with something from its own design.
Despite this new situation, God looks like He was approachable all the time, but really enjoyed walks at the end of the day with His main man. Wait, His only man! It seems like God really enjoyed these simple things in life like going for walks with his creation while talking with them. Moses does not say this exactly, but then, I don’t think Moses’ gift was poetry. He was good with history, though!
Example of More is better- “We’ll take all the prayers we can get”!! I mean, did you ever hear that. Of course, you did. Somehow we equate the numbers of people praying with the more likely that God will respond in a favorable way to those prayers. One of the strongest properties of deception is maneuvering people by ubiquitous rhetoric, especially that of religious rhetoric, until they adopt it as truth. The last time I checked, God does not require group consent to get His attention.
The fervent prayer of a righteous man produces or avails much. God’s looking for the person or persons with a friendly heart toward him in order to show Him strong. God’s mind was changed by men with a fervent and friendly heart toward him. I don’t get that, do you? I mean about the part where a human can change God’s mind.
Prayer in Jesus’ Name- I love hearing the name of Jesus. Solomon said, “Your name is like ointment poured into my wounds”. But seriously, I’m not criticizing how we pray, I am citing what I believe is being revealed by our prayers. When Jesus said we would ask Father for things in His name, I don’t believed he meant for us to use his name like the sons of Sceva used the name Jesus and Paul, like those names were credentials or something like that.
I firmly believe the Lord meant there would come a time in the lives of the disciples when they(we) will pray to the Father in His name. If you were baptized in the Holy Spirit, you received the power of attorney (POA) from the one who baptized you and has all authority and power. Either you received that POA from Jesus, or you didn’t. The fact that this is so hard to see, is evidenced by the lack of Presence and Authority in our lives. The idea that we must use His name in all we say and do illustrates either our blindness or need for credentials. But beware, a POA is not needed as long as the life you know live in the flesh is your life.
Example of “What Would Jesus Do”- Unlike the above examples, this symptom of retinitis pigmentosa is a more recent condition again, blinding disciples to the treasure that lays before them, or rather within them. What treasure, you ask? The real treasure in you, the hope of glory, the Desire of the nations, the Darling of heaven is Christ.
The same spirit that raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead will quicken your own mortal body when the Son of God is raised from the dead in you. Forget the doctrine you’ve been raised in. Either that transformation happened or it didn’t! If the same spirit that raised the Darling of Heaven from the dead, bringing him out of the bowels of hell, and bringing with Him all those righteous who died without receiving the promise, you don’t need credentials!
Now, having said all that – please guide me into a deeper truth and tell me where I’m off! I really want to know. I don’t embody the whole truth, I just know the One who lives!