Blind Guides

by Morris Ruddick on May 29, 2013


© Morris E. Ruddick


“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. If a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”  Matt 15:14

The SIGN ministry biblically and prophetically addresses key issues impacting the Body, giving clear-cut focus to spiritual maturity and leadership. Jesus said that many are called, but few are chosen. Jesus’ criteria for spiritual leadership challenged the status quo of those regarded as religious leaders of His day. His standard was and is higher. It’s a big-picture standard that majors in the majors.

In this sequence in Matthew, the disciples had just told Jesus that His comment, quoting Isaiah on the precepts of men, had offended the Pharisees. Even today, as the enemy entices with the precepts of men; there are many caught in its grip, revealing blind spots by their short-sighted responses to truth and authority.

The tempo of the times has picked up. Knowledge has increased. The availability of instantaneous information has become global. There’s been a shift of power. Simultaneously, control of the spiritual and moral climate of nations has had the criterion reset by political, entertainment and media moguls. The standard represented by the ancient paths of God’s truth has been challenged and lowered. Still, through a remnant, God’s order will overcome.

James indicated that teachers would be judged more strictly. The standard for those wielding influence with truth and authority demands more. Overcompensation is required by leaders and those reaching for spiritual maturity  in these times. It carries a great need to be wary of pervasive, subtle, seducing influences. Yet, just as in the days of Jesus, the seduction has infiltrated the ranks of the religious elite; those who ought to know better. Jesus judged them. He said they were blind guides.

In my activities around the globe, I’ve been shocked at stories marked by those in leadership positions with blind spots who have challenged both truth and authority. In almost every case, the deception has been such that the people with blind spots are the last to recognize that they have a blind spot. They consider themselves in the right. They blatantly challenge and undermine. It’s like a plague among the seasoned that has targeted ones who ought to be the last ones seduced by such issues. There are a range of defilements, from short-sighted purity in their grasp of spiritual things, to complaining, to games of manipulation, to the pride of personal ambition, to exaggerated perspectives.

The Purists. Myopic purists contain a range and variety in their ranks. At one end of the spectrum are the doctrinal purists whose intellectual capacities constrain the principles and models of God’s word in such a way to deny or reshape God’s power for today. On the other end of this continuum are the hyper-spiritual types, drawn by a “tickling of their ears” from the prophetic or by sensory-driven spiritual views, without the cost required from the “washing of the Word.” Somewhere in the mix are the “bless-me” adherents, who fall short in maturity by sidestepping the cost tied to discipleship.

The Complainers. The complainers are chronic fault-finders who have their own style of purity. Without either the authority or the mantle, they are self-proclaimed standard bearers, whose short-sighted blind spots undermine and divide.

The Manipulators. Ones with a lifestyle of manipulation and control fall short on being able to trust others, especially authority figures. Manipulation is the antithesis of Kingdom leadership. The focus of manipulators serves themselves and when serving others, it is for their benefit. These are people who are constantly playing games with others, whose worldviews are shaped by their limited perceptions of reality.

The Ambitious. The ambitious perform in order to get ahead. Always striving, their blindness warps what otherwise might be perceptive views on things. The ambitious become full of themselves and constantly miss the mark due to distorted plans and dreams driven by their souls rather than the Spirit.

The Exaggerators. Those given to constant exaggeration have serious confidence issues. Exaggeration creates false impressions and a tendency to lose perspective with the realities of what is truly important. The exaggerators can become braggarts who compensate by surrounding themselves with ones who support their distorted image of things and fall short by undermining the very things they seek to accomplish.

Spiritual Myopia and Worldly Flirtations
In each case, there is a failure to operate in the big-picture reality of circumstances. The focus overshadows major issues with minor ones. There is a failure in the area of faithfulness. They self-righteously flirt with and embrace, rather than exercising the discipline to resist, the seductive enticements.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cummin and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. Blind guides, you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”
Matt 23:23-24

There is no compromise with sin or fear. It takes holy resistance, diligently guarding not only our hearts, but our tongues; which requires a constant washing of the Word and conscious humility. Yet, the enticements that defile find root where they shouldn’t. They generally fit under the category of “the love of the world.”
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but of the world.”
1 John 2:15-17

The Adjustments
Jesus indicated that in the time of the end even the very elect would be targets. Leadership is a calling. Again, James admonished against presumption for callings of leadership, since the standard was stricter and higher (James 3:1). The standard for leadership is not to be taken lightly. It is not about us or what we can do for God. It’s about what we allow God to do through us.

Avoiding the snares set for the elite begins by having the humility to examine ourselves for blind-spots and short-sighted attitudes and behavior. Let us check ourselves and ensure our passions and His will are in alignment. How do we measure up on the issues of a pure heart, faithfulness and discipline? What about mercy and justice? Are our priorities and modus operandi lining up with God’s order in terms of truth and the authority we serve?
“The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust for judgment, especially those who walk defiled, despising authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed.”
2 Peter 2:9-10

Pure Heart. A pure heart is one that is completely yielded to the Lord. Psalm 15 admonishes us to speak truth in our own hearts. Without truth fully operating in our hearts, we fall short and leave room for evil to abide, hide and when we are least expecting it, to manifest. Our time before the Lord is not for self-justification, but rather to adjust our hearts to His priorities. A pure heart is a repentant heart. It is merciful because it knows it needs mercy.
“The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive. For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed.’”
Matt 13:14-15

Faithfulness. In judging the Pharisees for spiritual myopia, one of the more important items they overlooked was faithfulness. Faithfulness involves how we relate to authority and serve. It involves applying the blessings of God to bless others within God’s order. It is the righteous application of the mantle of Abraham to be blessed to be a blessing. Despite his position as a slave, Joseph was faithful in Potiphar’s house to bring forth God’s blessing upon that household. It took discipline and maturity for Joseph to keep his eye on the big-picture. Despite having valid reasons for bitterness and serious attitudes, Joseph was faithful in his role to Potiphar and the keeper of the prison to establish God’s order and blessings.

Discipline. Discipline is the foundation for maturity and true authority. It is the resolve that does the right thing, regardless of the circumstance. One of my closest friends who spent an extended time in prison for his faith was brought to the place physically where unless God intervened, he would die. His jailers confronted him and told him all he needed to do was deny Jesus; and he would be released. They touted him with the fact that unless he did that, he would probably die. He refused. A short time later, God sovereignly brought about his release.

God’s Order. Establishing God’s Kingdom rule in our individual sphere means applying righteous power in a corrupt world. Righteous power is much more than a higher standard of ethics. The ethical standard will be there. However, righteous power is the influence, against all odds, that changes the spiritual climate and then establishes God order. That requires true leadership. Joseph was a prime example of the application of righteous power in bringing change and God’s order to a corrupt setting. It is the mantle of authority that pivots on prophetic wisdom that is needed for the times upon us.
“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull.’”
Matt 13:11-15

When God’s order is in operation, it leaves no room for blind spots. If the bar is raised, then the standard will be judged according to God’s order. The world’s standard evolves around chaos, confusion and trivia, yet far too many overlook the truths from the ancient paths in order to be contemporaneous. The bar has been raised. God’s standard from the ancient paths is being restored.

The Tares and the Wheat
We’ve entered a time when the tares are being separated from the wheat. It is an Isaiah 60 time in which we are being called to “arise and shine.” The book of Jude speaks of judgment of those who have been deceived and resist correction.
“They feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
Jude 12-13

In 1 Cor 9:27 Paul indicates that he disciplines himself so that even he would not be disqualified. He uses strong words to admonish the Corinthians to avoid being disqualified:
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”
2 Cor 13:5

I learned during my time in combat in the sixties that when people start shooting at you is no time to get either paranoid, too introspective or to change your mind. It’s the time when you face the uncertainty and risks, and pay the cost to do what you’ve been prepared and sent to do. Now, within the Body, the bar has been raised for those who have disciplined and prepared themselves for the mantle required for these times.

Presence of Mind
Officers in the Marine Corps are regularly evaluated on their performance. The standard is high. One of the criteria of this evaluation is Presence of Mind. In short, this evaluates how one performs under fire; under the most difficult of situations. The spiritual shift that has taken place in the world means that for those in leadership, we cannot operate on past exploits or reputation. The standard indeed has been raised and must be upheld and closely monitored, especially among those called to lead and to make decisions affecting the lives of others.

Forty years ago, I heard a sermon with an altar call that still rings vividly in my memory. Preaching to a hungry crowd of over 5000, this man of God masterfully went through the entire Bible, showing Jesus in each book. In concluding, he paused and told us if God gave him only 30 seconds remaining on the earth, his message to us would be this: REPENT. Repent for falling short of the glory of God. Repent for wrong motivations. Repent for loving yourself more than God and the resulting misfires. Repent for trusting yourself instead of God. Repent for failing to obey the promptings of His Spirit. REPENT.

I recall awesome, tangible waves of the Spirit going through that auditorium. No one remained in their seat. The aisles were impassable with people on their knees, weeping and repenting. No one was the same afterward. No one should be the same, as we search our hearts and prepare for the days before us.
“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
” Gal 3:3-4

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