Monday, August 20, 2018
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And now once again it's time for another of my science guy experiments. Let's say I'm looking at this beautiful scene on a calendar. It's a picture of snow-capped mountains in the background with stately evergreen trees in the foreground and a azure-blue sky. In the upper left-hand corner, an eagle is soaring majestically over the trees. I love eagles, so I decide that's the thing in the picture that most catches my attention. In fact, forget the rest of the picture, I'll just take a closer look at the eagle. So I bring him closer to my eyes and closer and now my nose is touching the calendar. I am totally focused on the eagle and I am suddenly cross-eyed!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Spiritually Cross-Eyed.”
It's an interesting phenomenon. When you get too focused on one part, too close to one part of a bigger picture, things start to get distorted. That's not only true of physical vision. No, it happens to people spiritually, too.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Corinthians 1:10. It says, "I appeal to you, brothers, that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” How did they become divided? He says, "There are quarrels among you. One of you says, 'I follow Paul'; another 'I follow Apollos'; another, 'I follow Cephas'; still another, 'I follow Christ.'” Well, these people had gotten really focused on the teaching of one particular leader and they'd forgotten the big picture of the whole body of Christ. And they were dividing into separate camps, seeing each other as theological adversaries, instead of brothers and sisters who will be together forever.
Paul tries to bring them back to the big picture that unites God's people and away from this narrow focus that divides God's people. He says, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?” Later he will remind them and us, "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”(1 Corinthians 12:12)
When believers get fixated on their particular group, or their particular theological distinctive, or their spiritual hobbyhorse, their vision gets distorted. When you get too close to, too focused on one part of the Christian faith, you start to become spiritually cross-eyed. And we tend to become a little arrogant about our particular viewpoint, a little judgmental of those who don't see it our way. And sometimes you become the center of dissension and division, which puts you on God's hate list in Proverbs 6, "There are six things the Lord hates,” and it starts with "a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Wow!
There are many wonderful truths in God's Word, all of which are meant to be rounded out by other truths in God's Word. When we move in real close to one truth, we almost always become lopsided and even divisive. The gifts of the Spirit are a wonderful part of the Christian experience, but just focus on that and you'll start to become spiritually cross-eyed. The same thing can happen when you become fixated on God's predestination in our salvation, or on man's choice; or on one particular view of baptism, or prophecy, or one particular sin or behavior, or one group's distinctives. You can become too focused on the analytical side of the Christian life and miss the experience part; or you can become too focused on the experience side and miss the solid study of God's Word.
We need each other no matter how noble the truth, or it can become distorted and divisive because that's all we focus on. The body of Jesus has been broken enough. He doesn't need for us to break it more with doctrine wars or theological crusades over one part of God's infinite truth.
Those who divide God's people are probably too close to one part. They got spiritually cross-eyed. Those who are agents of love and unity about God's people are those who stand back and appreciate the big picture with all its color, all its diversity, and all the panorama of the whole truth of God.