For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them. – Matthew 13:15
True story: Several years ago I thought seriously about writing a book about clarity, clear thinking, and the whole twenty-twenty vision thing, building my thesis around some of the scriptures Jesus used about healing people’s blindness, and Paul’s reference to “now I see through a glass darkly” in 1 Corinthians 13.
I didn’t pursue the idea for many reasons. But now it’s the middle of 2020 and all I see around me is this fog of muddled thinking, this pervasive out-of-focus lack of clarity, people wearing blinders that don’t allow them to see beyond their narrow point of view, distortion, and so much more.
When it comes to our view of the world and how we are called to respond, the need for corrective lenses is so very evident. “Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord…” “Be thou my vision…” “Open my eyes that I may see…”
Scripture = clear vision:
We had an illuminating conversation in my Saturday morning group earlier today, and the discussion reminded me of how critically important it is that we look at the world – and in particular the way we live as individuals – through the lens of scripture. Not digging out single verses that we can use to prove our point, but immersing ourselves in Logos to the extent that the way we think, speak, and act is influenced and guided by the fact that we are “inhabited” by God’s good word.
One of the guys said he didn’t read the Bible that much, and didn’t really know the Psalms (which we are studying) beyond the classic number 23. He said he was feeling enriched by the experience.
I appreciated his confession because it reminds me of the powerful effect scripture can have when we know it well enough to become part of our consciousness – in a way that both enriches the deep residual pool that is foundational to our thinking and springs to mind in the active, immediate sense of responding “in the moment.”
The entire English language, which undergirds literature and philosophy and academia and how we are able to both think and express ourselves, was severely limited in its scope until the time of Reformation. The the Bible was translated into the vernacular and the words, ideas, theology, expressions, prayers, insights, stories, history, concepts, revelations, and experiences of the Hebrew scriptures and then Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Apostle Paul (the phenomenal mind that laid out the basics of Christian thought) – were all literally poured into the evolving English language.
- This is what we deny ourselves in terms of clarity and insight and perspective when we fail to study scripture.
- This is why I could not be a writer offering any real insight if I were not also a student of the Bible.
- This is why some recovery of basic biblical literacy is – I believe – a prerequisite to recovering our balance and finding surer footing on which to move forward.
- This is why our nation cannot hope to regain its focus and live into the inherent promise that is America absent a movement toward faith.
Just an hour and fifteen minutes on a Zoom call with a few men; digging into the Psalms a little bit, learning from one-another, openhearted toward our brothers and openspirited toward God.
As the Psalmist said – loosely paraphrased – “The Bible really tastes good, Lord, I can’t get enough of your words!”
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws. – Psalm 119:103-106
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.