Recently, I started experiencing severe eye strain. A constant throbbing headache and the daily naps I needed to keep fatigue at bay limited my reading and computer time.
At first, I thought it was a sign of an impending cold, so I patiently waited for it to subside. After a few weeks, someone suggested it might be time for new corrective lenses. That seemed unlikely to me because I’d gotten new glasses a few months earlier.
Eventually, I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I went to my optometrist. To my surprise, the examination revealed that my eyes had changed drastically. I needed a new prescription—for multi-focal lenses.
When I put on the new glasses, my eyes relaxed immediately. I could see everything more clearly and without any strain.
I’ve learned that my spiritual eyes need multi-focal lenses too.
The Negative Impact of Spiritual Eye Strain
I used to read the Bible with a singular focus—me.
The Bible has a lot of encouragement and instruction for us, and it teaches us a lot about ourselves. But the Bible isn’t a book about ourselves—it’s a book about Jesus!
Reading the Bible with myself as the primary focus led to spiritual eye strain.
- I misinterpreted a lot of Bible passages because I didn’t care about the context. All I wanted to know was what it means for me.
- I skipped over a lot of the Bible because it seemed irrelevant to my life or it seemed too hard to understand.
- It led me to place legalistic expectations on myself and others that were never intended by the passages I was reading.
My spiritual near-sightedness (AKA navel-gazing) caused me to miss out on so much rich treasure in the Bible because I failed to see the big picture—the thread of the story of redemption through Jesus Christ that ties it all together from Genesis to Revelation.
The Benefits of a Broader Focus in Bible Reading
Learning to wear spiritual multi-focal lenses when I read God’s Word changed everything for me. It restored the wonder and joy of what I read because it all made more sense. It became a gift of grace instead of an impossible rule book I couldn’t follow. And most importantly, it deepened my relationship with Jesus Christ by helping me know Him more.
In John 5:39 (NLT), Jesus corrected the Jews who were hyper-focused on the “letter of the Law” instead of the marvelous miracle of the Messiah standing right in front of them. He said, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!”
When we read God’s Word, let’s put on our multi-focal lenses.
Before we look for personal application in our Bible reading, we do well to ask questions like:
- What does this passage tell us about God—His character, His actions, His plan?
- How does this passage relate to the gospel and God’s plan of salvation for His people because of His love for us?
- Why did God want this passage included in His Word? What does God mean by it?