As I teach my son to drive, one of the first lessons on the highway concerned shoulder checks and blind spots. We know the potential danger of making a lane change without realizing a car traveling in our mirror’s blind spots. In the same way, our loving God asks us to do shoulder checks in life to protect us from the potential wreckage that comes when we don’t. He loves us enough to allow painful truth to make us uncomfortable and humble us before we hurt ourselves and others.
This past year has been a rough one in life and ministry. My teen daughter lost all her hair. Friendships have shifted and changed. Parenting teens has stretched my patience and my marriage. The enemy attempts to defeat and discourage have been fierce. My temptation has sometimes been to take a martyr posture. “Poor me – life is so hard.”
When we struggle, it’s difficult to discern the truth of the situation. We need the belt as a weapon to align our perspective with reality. They are not always the same. God wants to use our difficulties to reveal blind spots in our own lives because He cares more about our character than our comfort.
“The truth is that Satan watches our lives for the areas in which we are most vulnerable. He looks for opportune moments to sink his hooks into our skin. But once we understand his tactics, we can identify the exposed areas of our characters that are prone to attack.” (Wayne Cordeirio, Sifted)
Through the trials of the past year, I have battled the martyr inside to see the work God wants to do in revealing painful but dangerous blind spots. When we sit in self-pity, we miss the great work of truth recovery that God wants to do in our hearts and minds. Let’s look at the work God was doing in Peter’s life to reveal blind spots by shining truth into pain. In Luke 22:31-32 we find Satan asking to sift Peter. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
When Satan wanted to sift Peter, Jesus prayed for him. Christ expected Peter to respond with two actions after His prayer. He was to repent of his sin and then strengthen others. When the enemy wants to sift you, which responses are you often tempted with? Think about which of these reactions you are most tempted to have when God sheds light on a blind spot:
- Defensive: “I didn’t do anything wrong, if ______________ hadn’t don’t that, then I wouldn’t have sinned. Not my fault.”
- Self-Pity: “God has forgotten me. I pray and He doesn’t help me. (meaning – fix all my circumstances.”
- Anger: “This makes me mad. I do all these good things, are you kidding?”
- Comparing: “I’ve repented enough, what about her? She never has problems and things to deal with like I do.”
Jesus is praying that in difficult times when the enemy chases us relentlessly, our faith would not fail. The right response when truth reveals weak faith in our lives should be what Jesus asked of Peter:
- Repentance: “I know have weak areas. God confirm them and show me your truth. Give me your belt at the center to see clearly where I have been blind to my own faults.”
- Helping others: “Rather than always focus on myself, I will look around at others who are struggling and encourage and pray for them.”
He wants us to repent of the “me focused” response to our difficulties. When blind spots are unearthed in our lives, will we accept the truth of them and repent or deny that we have these unidentified sinful areas? It’s no fun. This year God has shown me these blind spots in my life –
- I often care more about what others think than fully obeying God.
- I have often elevated relationships with others above my commitment to Jesus.
- I have been guilty of seeing people as projects for me to accomplish rather than loving freely and leaving results up to God.
- I have defined success as accomplishing my dreams of having a problem free family life, uncomplicated friendships, and getting a book published.
Do you see the theme here? My blind spots are rooted in pride and unbiblical thinking. In order for me to see it though, God had to knock my crutches to the ground to reveal the weight I was putting on them. I fell flat on my face without them, but have been learning to walk with Jesus as I travel the road to repentance.
To wear the belt of truth, we must surrender our pride and admit when these truths come into the light. I denied these truths when initially confronted by loving friends about them. Even King David, the man after God’s own heart, struggled in this way. 1 Chronicles 21:1 tells us “Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel.”
God knew David’s heart. Likely, he wanted to take a count so he could boast about the size of army to feel important. Satan appeals to our pride. He offered God’s own Son riches and power to try to tempt his humanity to no avail. Unfortunately, it often works on Christ-followers much more effectively than it did on Christ himself. Our flesh takes the bait when the enemy dangles money, status, relationships, power, beauty, talents, or anything that makes us feel worthy on our own.
Pride was Lucifer’s downfall and we must guard against it too. David shows us the bad and eventually good response to blind spots. In verse 3 Joab, David’s good friend and commander of his army, said “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?”
In verse four we find that David “insisted” on his own way about the census. He would not face his pride and see his sin. God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. When we dig our heels in to have our own way, our sin affects those around us. Blind spots are dangerous. Thankfully, David finally recognized his sin. Inverse 8 we find David’s repentance. “Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”
Now consequences still came for David even after he said he was sorry. However, he had to start with acknowledging his warped perspective and unwillingness to hear God’s truth from his friend. Take a few moments now to get quiet and listen. Think about recent events in your life. What blind spots might God reveal about your decisions, heart attitude, or relationships that you have been unwilling to see up until now?
This isn’t just a five minute exercise. Instead it’s a lifelong pursuit for truth in our inmost being. Read over these passages that may help you hear God’s verse about error in your life:
“Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.” Proverbs 12:18-20
“People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart.” Proverbs 21:2
“I listen to their conversations and don’t hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, ‘What a terrible thing I have done’? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!” Jeremiah 8:5-7
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” 1 John 1:8
Do you always think you have the right answer, your way is the only way, you alone have the corner on “truth?” It’s a blind spot. We are all waging war to discern the truth. We must be on guard with the belt of God’s truth that we aren’t just spewing our version of it leaving a swath of people around us wondering how we can’t see blatant faults in our own life.
Some ideas to help uncover blind spots:
- Ask your close family and friends to tell you honestly if they see glaring you faults that you don’t admit and address. (Proverbs 24:6 says there is safety in asking many people rather than just one.)
- Pray regularly asking God to show you anything as you evaluate His leading. Then take time to listen to what He reveals.
- As you read the Bible, listen to sermons, participate in Bible study, take the posture of evaluating your own self and sin rather than thinking, “so and so really needs to hear this!”
- Put on the armor every day and ask God to hold your life together with His truth as you walk closely with Jesus and the Holy Spirit as the center of your life.
- Listen for your own Holy Spirit guided idea to help truth replace blindness in our lives:____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Scripture to Pray:
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” Psalm 19:12
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23