When Saul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life changed in a moment. Reality as he had known it suddenly died, and he discovered a new reality in Christ. The brilliant vision of Jesus—in which He revealed the truth of who He really is to Saul—temporarily made Saul physically blind but opened his spiritual eyes. In a very real sense, he became blind so that he could truly see. Several days later, when Ananias prayed for Saul and his vision was restored, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes. These were a manifestation of not only physical blindness but also spiritual blindness. Both left Saul that day, and he began his journey toward his destiny as one of the greatest apostles of the gospel.
Like Saul, when our eyes are spiritually opened, we receive the vision needed to have clear focus. This focus puts us on the path to fulfilling our destiny. Of course, staying focused is not easy. If it was, everyone would do it. The truth is, we are bombarded with distractions from the enemy designed to make us spiritually blind. These distractions pull our eyes away from the vision of Jesus and fill our minds and hearts with lesser things. If we do not deal with them, they have the potential to sideline us and prevent us from accomplishing God’s plans for our lives. For this reason, it is crucial for us to self‐examine, to consider what we are looking at and whether we are living focused lives. As Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth:
"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 3:15)
The nature of deception is that we are deceived. We cannot see the deception—unless we invite God’s correction in our lives. He knows what has the potential to keep us from our destinies, and He warns us about those distractions. Only He can open our eyes to deception lurking in our corners. The question is, will we listen? Will we pay attention and willingly submit to His correction? If we will, He will show us what we are really looking at, and He will help us refocus on His vision.
Then, like Jesus, we will be empowered to run our race with endurance:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1‐2)."
This is how we overcome the distractions of life—by examining ourselves and refocusing on God’s spiritual vision. The need to self‐examine is never finished. In different seasons of life, we will encounter different distractions. The breakthroughs we need are uncovered in the secret place with our loving Father, who knows and desires the very best for us.
Self‐examination is not easy, but it is always worth the pain. Join me on this quest for truth at any cost and the joy of running with perseverance the race marked out before us!