I am in South Africa with a team of teacher/facilitators from our ministry, teaching “Five Principles of Unity” in churches there. Look here for our schedule and how you can be praying for us. Here is some of what we are teaching:
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5
The Principle of the Enemy: There is only one enemy of the church and he hates unity.
It is a time-tested battle plan. One of the most effective weapons in defeating an enemy is to blind him…prevent him from seeing the truth about what is in front of him. Control how he perceives things and you can control his very behavior.
In Spiritual warfare (if you are a follower of Christ, you are in a war, whether you know it or not) our enemy is a master of this technique. He is fully capable of blinding us to the truth about things. He causes us to see things and to believe things which simply are not true. Moreover (and this, to me, is the scariest part), we usually are not even aware that we have been blinded. We usually are quite insistent, in fact, that we are NOT blinded and that we DO know the truth. That, of course, is part of the enemy’s plan, it is part of the deception. He wants us to believe that about ourselves.
Searching scripture, there are at least four ways the enemy blinds us to the truth. Test yourself and see if you can relate to any of them:
1. He blinds us to the truth about God.
It is what he did to Eve in the garden of Eden. She protested, saying about the fruit with which he tempted her, “God said ‘you must not touch it, or you will die.” The enemy responded to her, “You will not surely die.” The enemy convinced her that God was either wrong or He had lied. Either way, he blinded her to the truth about God. He still does this today, causing us to believe things about God which simply are not true.
2. He blinds us to the truth about our circumstances.
It is what he tried to do to Job. He brought unprecedented harm to Job’s family, his possessions, and to Job himself, trying to get Job to give up. But he did not. To the very end of the circumstances, Job said, “God is just and God will be justified.” Job did not know why these things were happening to him, but they did not shake his faith. Henry Blackaby says, “you do not know the truth about your circumstances until you have seen them from God’s perspective.”
3. He blinds us to the truth about ourselves.
This was David’s problem after his sin with Bathsheba. he could not see himself the way God saw him. It took the loving confrontation of his friend, Nathan, to help him see the truth. There is no blindness more humiliating than not being able to see the truth about oneself. Have you ever had to listen to someone who thought they could sing but were in fact tone deaf? It’s embarrassing. It is a perfect metaphor for the Christian who the enemy has blinded to the truth about themselves in one or more areas of their life. It is why we need friends in our lives who will tell us the truth.
4. He blinds us to the truth about each other.
Consider Cain and Abel. One brother so distraught (so blinded) that he could not see the truth about his own brother. Cain could only believe that his brother needed to die in order for him (Cain) to be vindicated. This, of course, is the type of blindness which ties so closely to unity in the body of Christ. The enemy is very, very good at causing you to see things or to believe things about a brother or sister which simply are not true. If you allow a relationship to stay broken long enough, I can pretty much guarantee that you will eventually begin to demonize the other person and to see things in them that you fear the most (whether they are really there or not). It is the way broken relationships work. It is why forgiveness is so critical. Forgiveness is one of the ways we “remove the plank from our own eye” in order to see clearly again.
So, we have this formidable enemy who has thousands of years of practice at blinding us. And once blinded, we often do not even know it. How do we combat that? We do it through God-honoring relationships with other believers who will help us see when we are otherwise not seeing so well. Do you have those friends in your life? Have you given permission to tell you the truth?
© Blake Coffee
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