Saturday, May 30, 2015

Spiritual Detached Retina

"No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays." (Luke 11:33-36 NASB)

In order to understand the concept of "clear eye", we are taking a detour through a few eye diseases and making spiritual applications. We have previously considered Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma. You can click on the links to see those. Today, we are exploring Detached Retina.

The retina is the light-sensitive lining inside the eye that sends information through the optic nerve to the brain, allowing us to see. When the retina is detached, tearing away from its proper position, it can cause permanent loss of vision. The symptoms are an increase in floaters or light flashes or the appearance of a "curtain" over the field of vision. If treated immediately, usually with laser surgery or cryopexy (freezing), 90% of retinal detachments can be repaired, although recovery of vision can vary. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency and complaints of vision loss, floaters, or light flashes should trigger an immediate search for treatment. 

In a similar way. we as believers can become "detached" from the body of Christ for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you, like me, have had some experience in this. I've found that my propensity for detachment occurs in one of two ways, and is much like being a prodigal. 

I'm not proud of this, but on occasion, I've been physically detached from the body of Christ. In that instance, I've avoided attending church services and, at times, avoided "church people" (other believers). Most often, my detachment has been as a result of my own sin. It was easier to stay home than risk being confronted by truth and conviction. That, of course, was not my stated reason for staying away. At times I claimed a busy schedule and other times I claimed dissatisfaction with the church. I simply didn't attend.

Sometimes, though, I've been in-place but disconnected, much like the stay-at-home prodigal. My body has attended all the usual services, but my heart has been as disconnected from the people in my church, and from my Lord, as if I had stayed at home. This has been because of my own sin, as well. I hate to admit this, but usually it is because of my pride and critical judgmental spirit. You may have a different set of sins, but the result can be the same. 

When I get on my "haughty high horse", I can easily think that my failure to sense God's presence is because the people at my church are somehow at fault. How foolish that attitude is! My relationship with God is not dependent upon the faithfulness of other people, but upon my own faithfulness. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere all the time. If I don't "sense" Him, it is not because He is absent.

Every time, my failure to connect with the body of Christ has eventually affected my spiritual vision and my walk with Christ. The only treatment is to repent and reconnect.

Only our God is without sin. His believers are far from perfect and it's why we need a Savior. That's why there is a place for me in the body of Christ. That's why there is a place for you. We, too, are imperfect people, in need of a perfect Savior. 

Have we become detached from the body of Christ? Are we "detached in-place"? Allowed to persist, that detachment will affect our spiritual vision and our relationship with our Lord. Let's spend a few minutes today evaluating our own relationship with the Lord, including to His church. If there is evidence of detachment, let's treat it like the spiritual emergency it is and do what it takes to correct it. Treatment begins with repentance and reconnection, so don't wait. The body of Christ is dependent upon every part. Let's get in our place and do our part.

For the body is not one member, but many... But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."... Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:14, 20-21, 27 NASB)