Gracefully Truthful


Read His Words Before Ours!

John 9
Isaiah 55
Proverbs 3:5-12

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Odds are high that most of us have seen this verse on a poster, a graduation card, a tea towel, or a water bottle sticker. It is a great verse and worthy of keeping front and center in our sight. 

That being said, what exactly does living this verse LOOK like? Could you describe what trusting in the Lord looks like in your life today? What does it feel like to not lean on your own understanding? 

In John 9, Jesus heals a blind man. The religious authorities are angered and interrogate both the healed man and his family. In this story, we see both an example of relying on God’s truth and a few non-examples, as well. 

Let’s start with the non-examples, those who relied on their own understanding. Jesus’ disciples, who witnessed the healing, assumed the blind man’s lack of sight must be a result of sin, a direct consequence for an action in the past. (John 9:1-5) Jesus, however, explained that the purpose of the blindness was to show God’s work, and this story definitely displays the glory of the Lord. 

Another example of those relying on their own understanding is the Pharisee and their response. Their focus centered around Jesus healing on the Sabbath, a day of rest prescribed by their religious laws. The law had become the Pharisees’ security blanket and the basis for which all their decisions were made. The first portion of Proverbs 3:5-7 did not exist in their worlds. In the process of leaning on their own understanding, they completely missed all the Lord did before them AND they rejected the Lord in the process. 

However, one man did succeed in living out this verse: the blind man. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure what I would have been thinking in his position. What might have been your thoughts? You hear the disciples ask the Lord about your sin. Maybe you were wondering the same thing? Why were you being punished, or did you know you had been living a blameless life but were powerless to convince others? Did hope unfurl within you at hearing the Lord validate your entire existence thus far? 

How might you have processed the sound of Jesus’ spit hitting the ground, the slight crunch as the mud was mixed, and then the strange sensation of the mud being placed on your eyes? (John 9:6-7) Would your first thought be to get it off your face as quickly as possible, or would you have just enough curiosity to leave it alone in order to find out what Jesus did next? 

When Jesus gave the directive of where to wash your face, would you have doubted, or hesitated? Would you have believed your life was changing, or would it not be until the first glimpses of light appeared as you washed your face? 

None of the internal processing is recorded in Scripture, but the blind man’s actions speak. He did just as the Lord commanded and he received his sight. 

Not only did he receive his sight, he stood up to the Pharisees when questioned about his experience. (John 9:13-34) He shared exactly what happened and let its weightiness rest in the air. He did not try to sugar coat it or explain it away in an effort to enable the Pharisees to save face or lessen any potential conviction they may have felt. 

I know it is easy to read Scripture with the benefit of hindsight and think the Pharisees were so blind. They truly were. 

The reality is we are not so far removed from the Pharisees. When we rely on our own understanding without seeking the Lord’s direction through His Word, prayer, and wise counsel of other believers, we are likely to walk the same path as the Pharisees. 

They had become so comfortable with their construction of truth that they missed the literal, physical Lord standing in front of them. 

We can do the same thing. When we start basing all of our decisions on the truth we know or understand and disregard what the Truth, Jesus, is saying, we are walking in the footsteps of our Pharisee friends and making our wisdom an idol since we are putting it before the Lord in our lives. (John 14:6)

How can we combat this? How do we live more like the blind man than the Pharisees? 

By actively looking for the Lord (Bible reading, prayer, Holy Spirit nudges, etc.) and obeying, even when it does not make sense or challenges us to move beyond our comfort zones. 

Lord, please open our eyes to see where You are working and fill us with boldness to obey. May we be like the blind man who gained his sight rather than those who saw You and remained blind. 

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