Publication: Pastoral Letter, February 2015
Dear Friend in Christ:
It would be wonderful if we could see more of the future with greater clarity; that would prevent so many wrong decisions and save us so much trouble. In this letter, we will look at how we can have foresight, as well as the consequences of and cures for spiritual blindness. All too often our world and our lives are interrupted by the unforeseen. While we will never be able to see all that the future holds, we could see more than we do, and I’ll attempt to help us do that.
Recently a well-known minister, his family and staff were killed when their pilot attempted to land with no visibility. It was a tragedy! These are by no means the only ones who have perished “flying blind.” This is a historical universal human problem.
The “Crash of 1929” was a different kind of disaster; it was a stock market crash. A few years later, my grandfather lost all that he had, and my Dad had to leave college. The nation was “flying blind.” On September 1, 1939, Hitler attacked Poland and shocked the world. The world was flying blind. It happened again on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and again on September 11, 2001, when terrorist flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, our centers of economic and military power. Again, we did not see this coming.
More recently, terrorists attacked in Paris killing more than 17 people and injuring others. The Western World was shocked. Tragically, those will not be our last disasters due to a lack of foresight.
Beyond political, economic, and military surprises are the personal ones that occur in our lives as unexpected events change our plans and outlook. At times we all “fly blind.” Do we really have to? What causes us to walk in darkness? How can we have more light? There are very serious questions that face our world and our personal lives. Is God willing to tell us more? (See Genesis 15; 18:17; Mark 4:34.)
It would be simple enough to say that sin is the cause of blindness. Sin is both a mistake and a disease, but it is also a birth defect. We are born that way, genetically prone to wander from God’s moral law and His will for our lives (see Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:12,19; Ephesians 2:1).
Adam’s sin brought death upon us all (see I Corinthians 15:21-22). His sin separated both him and us from fellowship with God and resulted in spiritual blindness.
Original sin and human depravity are the easiest to demonstrate of all doctrines. God, Who is light, cannot fellowship with darkness (see 1 John 1:5). Our natural eyes and our spiritual eyes require light in order to function. Without God and His light, we fly blind. So what are some of the sins that cause blindness? I’ll list some of them and lat er we will look at the cure.
PRIDE. Pride is over-estimating self-worth and sufficiency. It causes us to think beyond what is real.Pride goes before destruction (see Proverbs 6:16-19; 16; Psalm 10:4; Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 18:8-17). It blinds us to our own vulnerability and removes our sense of dependence upon God and others. Pride sends us into a dark storm and on a dangerous journey.
PREJUDICE. Prejudice is a form of pride that causes us to prejudge a person or a situation, thinking that we know what we do not (see Proverbs 18:13). It blinds us to the Truth that could benefit us. Reserving
judgment; prejudgment is foolish and blinding.
AMBITION. This is an ardent desire to reach some goal. That can be good, but if carried to extreme can become “blind ambition” if it blocks out other priorities such as God, family and serving others; then it is
dangerous and blinding (see Proverbs 19:21).
APATHY. The near opposite of ambition is apathy, which is not caring about God’s will or other priorities, and being unmoved when we should be moved to act. Apathy is passivity when urgent action is required. It is spiritual slumber in the face of warning signs that go unnoticed. The apathetic love lullabies and says, “Wake me up when it’s over.” What
wakes them up is often too late.
DISTRACTION. That is when we have taken our eyes off the road. Most wrecks happen that way. Texting, phone calls, or other minor issues divert our attention from major matters. Our culture is full of spiritual and natural distractions that take our off the Lord’s will for our lives.
BAD IDEOLOGY. We can become strongly committed to a particular view of the world that does not coincide with reality. We tend to ignore reality because of our mindset. Be it “liberal” or coincide with reality. We tend to ignore reality because of our mindset. Be it “liberal” or “conservative,” reality is not pliable. It is what it is. Too many people are “too educated” to accept the truth that will collide with their ideas. We should all have a worldview that includes the sovereignty of God. He does what He wills and follows His own counsel. By looking to Him first, He can open our eyes.
JUDGMENT. The most concerning form of blindness is when God gives it (see 2 Kings 6:18; John 3:19; John 9:39). When a person or nation persists in preferring blindness over sight, God will give it. Israel’s rejection of “the Light of the world” resulted in a blindness to the coming destruction of Jerusalem. Such blindness still occurs, even to religious leaders whose desire to please people prevents them in dealing with the truth (see Isaiah 42:19; 56:9-12; Matthew 15:14).
These are a few of the causes of spiritual blindness. We cannot control world events (though we can pray for leaders), but we can seek the Lord for priceless foresight so that we will not walk in darkness or be shocked by calamity. So how can we have open eyes? How can we prepare for what we cannot control?
Jesus opened the eyes of the blind and still does, both natural and spiritual. He can help us discern the times and seasons, but in order to do that, He first must get our attention. My hope is that He is doing that, perhaps through a message or some event that reminds us that we need sight. Last year about this time, our city had ice and snow. I stepped off our front landing on the “black ice,” slid down, fell, and received a concussion. When I woke up, I woke up to my need for foresight. Events can wake us up!
The Cure for Spiritual Blindness
The beginning of foresight is humility. The scriptures are loaded with admonitions to humble ourselves before God. Pride thinks that we are more than we really are; humility realizes what we are not. Wherever we are, we need God’s help if we are going to see beyond where we are. We need to see Him “high and lifted up” (see Isaiah 6). The scriptures tell us that if we humble ourselves, He will lift us up (see Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11). If we are truly humble, we will listen, especially to God. His warnings are numerous, His instructions clear, His promises sure; our task is to listen and pay attention. The same issues that blind us also make us spiritually deaf. When we humble ourselves, we can both see and hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.
Seeing and hearing should move us to obey. When we obey what we know to do, He tells us more. I heard about a pastor who preached the same sermon for several Sundays. He was asked why and his reply was, “When you do that one, then we will move to the next one.” When we see or hear and do not move forward, we eventually lose the ability to see and hear, and the Lord stops speaking (see Mark 4:24-25).
So, humility, listening, and obeying is the path to foresight. That being the case, what is God saying? What are we hearing and doing? That is a personal question because we are not all at the same stage of obedience. But we can all be on that path.
My journey is presently focused on having relationships that are based on the fear of the Lord and fellowship around Him (see Malachi 3:16-18). Our magazine is called One-to-One and that emphasis remains my focus. I believe that foresight comes in those settings. The Lord will reveal Himself and give us discernment. We can discover what to do. Worship in large settings can be inspiring and yet remain impersonal. When there are two or three people, things become much more personal. I believe that both settings are beneficial, but real friendship in Christ is lasting and there for all seasons. When we walk together in the light (truth), the blood of Jesus cleanses us (see 1 John 1:7), and covenant bonds are established.
Light and Truth are close associates. The heavenly city is lit by Christ Jesus who is Truth. His light or radiance reveals Truth. There is no darkness falseness there. God is calling us unto such a city.
The City of Truth
God promises to make Jerusalem “the City of Truth” (see Zechariah 8). It would become a safe and peaceful place. In verse 16 He says, “Speak each man the truth to His neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace.” Notice that truth precedes justice and justice precedes peace. Without truth there is no justice and no peace.
In December 2014, I lost a very dear friend of 48 years as he passed into eternity. What I loved about John Duke was that he courageously spoke the truth to me. We were able to walk in the light together for all of those years. I miss him.
The New Jerusalem is filled with the light and radiance of Jesus. “The Lamb is the Light.” David said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (see Psalm 27). The light of God and His truth opens our eyes to danger and also saves us from danger. He gives us the light that keeps us from “flying blind” into life’s storms and crashing unexpectedly.
Psalm 27:8 records these words from David: “When you said, ‘Seek my face,’ my heart said to you, ‘Your face will I seek’.” I believe that the Lord continues to say that to us. I encourage you to find friends who desire to seek the Lord, to walk in the light and be a “city of truth.” It is there that He will reveal Himself, pour out His Holy Spirit, and prepare us with priceless foresight!
Do not fail to pray for our leaders that they will walk in truth and light. The months ahead will be greatly influenced by whether they do or do not have priceless foresight. And please pray for CSM as well. Like you, we want to hear from God and be obedient to what He is saying. Would you also remember us in your giving this February? Your financial support is a significant part of our ability to go forward in this ministry. For more information, please see the enclosed card and envelope, or visit
us at www.csmpublishing.org.
P.S. I hope you are already planning to be with us in Gatlinburg, TN, May 12-15, for our annual CSM Leadership Conference. This year, our theme is “Embracing Truth with Our Lives” and our featured speaker will be Nik Ripken. We are also celebrating my 60th year in ministry and God’s faithfulness to sustain us and open many doors.
All contributions to Charles Simpson Ministries (CSM) are tax deductible. CSM is a 501 (C) (3) organization as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.
Scripture Reference: Genesis 15; 18:17; Mark 4:34, Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:12,19; Ephesians 2:1, ,I Corinthians 15:21-22, 1 John 1:5, Proverbs 6:16-19; 16; Psalm 10:4; Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 18:8-17, Proverbs 18:13, Proverbs 19:21, 2 Kings 6:18; John 3:19; John 9:39, Isaiah 42:19; 56:9-12; Matthew 15:14, Matthew 23:12; Luke 14, Psalm 27:8