Years ago Duffy Daugherty, the legendary Michigan State football coach, was in a tight game against UCLA. With only 14 seconds left to play the score was tied.
Daugherty sent in placekicker Dave Kaiser who booted a field goal that won the game. When Kaiser returned to the bench, Daugherty said, “Nice going, but you didn’t watch the ball after you kicked it.”
“That’s right, Coach,” Kaiser replied. “I was watching the referee instead to see how he’d signal it. I forgot my contact lenses, and I couldn’t see the goalposts.”
Kaiser, however, through years of repetitive practice could mentally see himself kicking a field goal. All he needed to do was follow through with his technique and form. His poor eyesight didn’t keep from seeing what he needed to do.
Similarly, I think of the apostle Paul. Apparently, from some of the closing comments in his epistles he had poor eyesight. In fact, some believe this was his “thorn in the flesh.” But his physical infirmity didn’t hinder him from clearly seeing matters of spiritual importance.
As we continue our thought and theme for the year, “20/20 Vision: Restoring Our Focus,” I want to consider three things we learn from Paul about vision in Philippians 3:4-14.
When Paul looked back on his life, he thought about those things in which he might “have confidence in the flesh.” His Jewish heritage. His position in the party of the Pharisees. His zeal for the Law.
However, when Paul looked back at his former life and his impressive credentials, he wrote, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” He even called them “rubbish.” When Paul looked back, he could see these were not only unimportant but a hindrance to what was more important
It’s a popular cliche’ to say that hindsight is 20/20. However, that’s only true if we see the past in its proper perspective. If we learn from the past. And if we allow our past mistakes and shortcoming to make us better in the future.
Like Paul, look back and see the joy of when you became a Christian. The lessons you’ve learned. The progress you’ve made. The blessings you’ve received.
Paul saw the “surpassing value” of knowing Jesus Christ” as his Lord. He saw what mattered most. He saw the righteousness that is from God through faith. He saw the power of the resurrection. Not just literally on the Damascus road. But in his own life. And he experienced the value of divine fellowship.
Spiritual insight allows us to see what is more valuable. To see below the surface. To view our lives from a divine perspective.
20/20 insight assists in attitude improvement. Ridding ourselves of negative, carnal thoughts for positive, spiritual thoughts. It helps us make better choices. Improves our relationships. And governs our activities and actions.
Like Dave Kaiser, Paul’s poor eyesight might have prevented him from seeing the goalposts, but he could see the goal. His spiritual eyes were focused on it. He was pressing toward it. And stretching with every bit of strength to attain it.
“Vision,” wrote the Irish essayist Jonathan Swift, “is the art of seeing things invisible to others.” The world thinks Christians are crazy because they can’t see what we see.
With 20/20 spiritual vision, we have the hindsight to properly view the past, the insight to see what’s really important in the present, and the foresight to focus on our future heavenly home.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
One response to “Seeing Like Paul Saw”
Paul gives up his former life and the supposition of a single Jesus taking the Body of Christ (John 20:15) and counts this as a loss and rubbish. Had Paul’s eyes been open to the Truth about Jesus’ Triune Relationship, Paul would never have persecuted Jesus the Rabboni and worried his beloved Martha.
In addition, this blindness hindered Paul’s perception of the family of Steven and finally gave way to Steven’s stoning…which then caused Saul/Paul to persecute Jesus the Rabboni with greater zeal–thinking Jesus the Rabboni was the LIGHT as an incarnation of APOLLO–the Greek God of Sun and Light.
Thus in time Saul could see how this false thinking was rubbish that perpetuated rubbish. This false thinking blinded Saul and Saul’s travel companions and kept them from seeing Saul as the LIGHT of the World –the female Jesus–the “shawl” and the “pall” the third PERSON of the Trinity filled with the Holy Spirit (John 8:12).
Moreover this false thinking was keeping Simon the Cyrene aka the Niger from assuming the role of Christ the Bridegroom–the Gardener belonging to Jesus the Bride, the clinging Vine (John 15:1; John 20:15). Saul’s blindness was/is keeping Simon and his countrymen from redeeming their communities and transforming the many slum and rubbish strewn neighbourhoods into “Mayfair,” beautiful elegant neighbourhoods with lush verdant gardens.