I’ve had the privilege of being around a few NFL coaches and players who can legitimately critique quarterbacks. A player’s ability to “scan the opponent’s defense” is a critical element in play selection and execution. Many very athletic quarterbacks have been rendered “functionally nearsighted” when it comes to seeing potential opportunities or problems on the playing field.
Nearsightedness (myopia) causes people’s eyes to focus the parallel rays of light in front of the retina. They can clearly see things right in front of them, but the farther out they look, the more out of focus objects become. With this condition comes a selectivity of vision that doesn’t always consider the things that can bring about harm to a person – like a blitzing 215-pound safety.
When the ball is snapped and chaos ensues in front of the quarterback, if the plan dictates a pass, he’s got to look past the commotion before him and seek out that open receiver, even if it means he’ll be tackled right after throwing the ball. But without this ability to scan distant opportunities, the quarterback will be sacked or not able to move the ball down the field.
“Spiritual nearsightedness” is even more concerning. Professed believers become unfruitful when they are spiritually nearsighted. When they focus on self, the worries of life, or all the lures of materialism, the big eternal issues of life become blurred—a distant reality; they can’t see the dangers or opportunities right in front of them.
People who are spiritually myopic risk being consumed with sinful behavior; it can easily sneak up on them. The blitzing addictions of life brought about through lustful thoughts, pornography, substance abuse, uncontrolled anger, out-of-control spending, and unbalanced lives can cause the person to miss the lasting blessings God intended.
Solomon coached his son, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25-27)
When “all hell breaks loose” around us, it’s easy to take our eyes off the goal. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to be entirely focused on the problems and challenges in front of us. When we feel this happening, it’s time to withdraw momentarily and pray, asking the Lord to give us focus and perspective about what we’re experiencing.
Additionally, if our focus is on ourselves, then our sight will be very limited. Psalm 121 is called a “Song of Ascents.” As the Children of Israel would go up to Jerusalem to worship, they would sing this song in anticipation of meeting with the Lord. The first verse says, “I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth.” My we continually lift our eyes to the Lord!
Scripture Reading: Psalm 121:1-8
Personal Application: Who or what has your focus right now? “Look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.”
Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5