Thursday, May 4, 2017

Developing Your Spiritual Life

We have spent the last several weeks studying about the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, for many, this study may become nothing more than another intellectual exercise of learning a bunch of interesting facts.  As we saw in Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” yet the majority of Christians today never seem to experience his power in their lives.  Perhaps a personal example can help us understand what is needed. 

I got my first pair of glasses when I was a freshman in high school.  When I walked out of the optometrist’s office, I saw things I had never seen before, and from then on the first thing I did in the morning was put on my glasses, and the last thing I did was take them off.   Each time I went back to the optometrist, I was given a little stronger prescription, and I became increasingly concerned about breaking or losing my glasses, or eventually losing my eyesight. 

About four or five years ago, read an old book on improving ones eyesight by doing certain exercises.   I tried the exercises for a couple of weeks, but didn’t see any change so stopped doing them.  A little over a year later, I went in to get new glasses and the optometrist commented that for some reason my eyes were slightly better.  I didn’t give it much thought because I had read that as we age people’s eyes tend to change shape slightly, changing the way they focus. 

A few month later, my daughter shared that she had been told that her eyes were deteriorating very rapidly and it was only a matter of time before she would be blind.   The doctors were hoping to slow the deterioration by using special contact lenses, but had no hope of stopping the problem.   I started reading about various possible cures, but with little hope, since  the doctors didn’t really believe there was any. 

A few months ago, I received an advertisement for a program to improve one’s eyesight.  It was pretty expensive, but I decided to do some research to see if it would help my daughter, so I went to Amazon and got a cheap e-book to experiment with.   Using the eye chart that was included, within a few days I began to notice some improvement in my left eye, so opted to buy the program to see if it would help. 

As the author explained, actual problems with the eye are very reare.  Unfortunately, in modern society most children are placed in and environment where their eyes don’t get the opportunity to look at things at varying distances, so do not develop the necessary musculature to adjust properly.  Those who spend a great deal of time indoors tend to become nearsighted, because they rarely look at things at a great distance, while others, who spend most of their time outdoors tend to become farsighted.  By practicing focusing on details of objects at different distances one can develop the muscular control to see what one once could not.  Unfortunately, wearing glasses or contacts enables the eye to see without having to make as much adjustment, and it becomes increasingly weak. 

Today, I see nearly as well without may glasses as with them with my left eye, and my right eye is much better than it was though still needing improvement.  How much the exercises will help my daughter, I have no way of knowing but I hope they will be beneficial. 

Developing our spiritual life is very similar to improving our eyesight.  We already have the Holy Spirit, just as I already had everything I needed to see clearly.  All that we need to do is learn to use that spiritual power by exercising it in different situations, and depending on him to enable us rather than depending on our intellect or what others have told us.  Unfortunately the ready availability of devotional books and studies, or moral codes and accepted standards make it easy to substitute them for allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us, preventing spiritual development just as the eyeglasses prevent eye improvement.   Put what we have learned to practice, trusting the Holy Spirit to show you how. 

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