One common routine when you go through an annual physical check-up with a doctor is to take a vision test to check your eyesight. I’ve recently been challenged to think about how I would fare, if God were to appraise my spiritual eyesight today with a spiritual check-up!
As I’ve thought about this alongside recent circumstances in my life as well as recent exhortations at church, it has become abundantly clear that I need a daily spiritual eye-test because my vision often gets clouded by the things happening around me. The enemy conspires with my flesh alongside the constant pressure of the world’s outlook to convince me that what the world sees and what my eyes see and what my feelings perceive is the only reality - this type of perception can often tell me the following - life is long-lasting and that death is a long time away; I need to make the most money I possibly can; the success I achieve in the workplace, academics, sports is most important; my health is something I should be most anxious about; I should listen to my feelings and act on them; I should follow the example of people who are most successful in the world.
In contrast, the word of God says the following:
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Cor 3:16-18
Let the Word of God be true and every other voice (including the one from my feelings within) be a liar. Verse 18 tells me clearly where I should look and where I shouldn’t look. I must then acknowledge in faith that all these things that the world and my flesh tell me are real, are actually just a virtual reality. It’s time for me to take off my VR glasses and put on the ER (Eternal Reality) lenses - not just one time, not just in word, but every day in practical life. Every time I grab my phone; every time I look up something on the internet; whenever I talk to a colleague or classmate or friend; whenever I check my email, or check my bank account, or the stock market; whenever I receive good news; whenever I receive bad news - every one of these times, the VR headset of what the world sees creeps back on and I must be quick and violent in separating the soulish from the spiritual using the living Word of God (Heb 4:12).
Here are a few examples of areas in which I want to use the Word of God as my Eternal Reality glasses to blind out the Virtual Reality of this world (if you have time look up the actual verses - they will certainly bless you as they did me):
Virtual Reality: I have a long life ahead of me and I can plan precisely what I want to do in the future
Eternal Reality: My life is just a vapor; I have no clue what tomorrow will bring (James 4:14)
Virtual Reality: My entire world revolves around me and what I feel, what I accomplish, what I do. I am significant. I might even be indispensable to the world, to my job, to my family, or to my church.
Eternal Reality: Lord, I have nothing of my own. I am just a worm and any brightness I have is just a reflection of Your glory (Job 25:5,6). Apart from You, I can do NOTHING (John 15:5). You are ALMIGHTY and I am insignificant yet You think of me and care for me (Isa 40:22; Ps 8:3,4)
Virtual Reality: The glory of the world and the approval of my boss, my friends, my family and my church is of utmost importance
Eternal Reality: Christ in me is my only hope of glory (Col 1:27). If I seek the glory or approval from another human being I cannot be a servant of Christ. (Gal 1:10)
Virtual Reality: This problem is too big for me and is keeping me up at night with anxious thoughts
Eternal Reality: God is not only BIGGER than all my problems but He loves me immensely and I know that He will provide for my best and provide me just enough grace as I need to handle what comes my way, if I humbly ask Him for help (Matt 6:25-33, Rom 8:28; 2 Cor 12:9; 1 Cor 10:13). I will delight myself with this amazing consolation (Ps 94:19)
Virtual Reality: Somebody else (like a boss, a relative, a friend, an enemy, a neighbor) is affecting my destiny and controlling my circumstance with their words and actions towards me
Eternal Reality: God is in control and can change the heart of another (Prov 21:1) or will allow this perceived evil to work for my best (Gen 50:20; Matt 5:11,12; Rom 8:28; Ps 25:10)
Virtual Reality: I must make as much money as I can to find happiness, give my kids a comfortable life, and have a peaceful retirement
Eternal Reality: No amount of money can redeem my life and make it worthwhile - only Jesus can (1 Peter 1:18,19). Only the treasure (of the likeness of Christ in me and the fruit of the Spirit) that I store in heaven will be worth anything (James 5:1-3; Matt 6:19,20)
Virtual Reality: This health condition or the way my body looks is really bringing me down every day. I must follow what the world tells me to do and idolize my body.
Eternal Reality: If I endure with dependence on the Lord and I seek for my inner man to be renewed everyday, it will earn me an eternal weight of glory (Rom 12:1,2; 2 Cor 3:16,17)
Virtual Reality: The pleasure I get from giving my eyes, hands, mind, or other body parts to this sin that God has forbidden is worth seeking after every once in a while
Eternal Reality: The greatest pleasure I will ever know is intimacy with my Creator and not with His created beings or things (Ps 16:11). If I befriend and embrace the morals of the world, I am an enemy of God (James 4:4). I NEVER want to leave His presence. My body is sacred now and is not my own - it is His and His alone (1 Cor 6:19)
Add your own examples here as God speaks through His living word…
Finally, if I seek to be pure in heart, God has promised that the only thing I will see is the eternal reality of God in every one of my circumstances (Matt 5:8). I will set my mind and vision on the things of heaven and not on the things of this earth. I will be content to have my life, name, and reputation hidden and Christ ALONE glorified (Col 3:1-4). We have so many examples that we’ve read about and some that we can even see living in our own midst who are truly living by faith with a mindset of Eternal Reality. May we therefore, lay aside every encumbrance of the “virtual reality” of this world that entangles us and run this race every single day with endurance and perseverance by fixing our eyes on Jesus alone (Heb 12:1,2).