Many years ago, when the Hubble Space telescope was lifted into space, amid all the hoopla of it being a technological marvel, one of the largest satellites to that date, and having the ability to see further into space than an optical telescope had ever seen, there arose one small problem. When they flipped the switch into the ‘ON’ position, it was blurry.
The image was blurry. And distorted. Not at all a true representation of what lay out there, further than we had ever seen before. It turns out that when the lens fabricated, the curvature was miscalculated. By less than 1%. (Expensive mistake.) The view into space was compromised because of a problem with the lens.
Our spiritual lives, too, can be compromised by the lens we use to view ourselves. (Yes, a cheesy intro, but I needed something to warm up.) In my experience, people (including myself) have three main lens defects. We view ourselves through the lens of what we do, the lens of what we have, and the lens of what people think us. That’s how we tend to generate our identity, by using defective lenses.
When Satan tempted Jesus, he tempted the identity of the Son of God. “Jesus, your identity is in what you do, turn these stones into bread”, “Jesus, your identity is in what you have, call down angels from heaven”, and finally “Jesus, your identity is is what people think of you, they will worship you if you just bow before me.” Jesus knew who He was, and what God intended Him to be. His identity was secure because His lens never faltered.
The Hubble telescope was eventually fixed by correcting the error in the lens. It took a lot of looking at the data to see where the error was, and then more effort to make the proper adjustments. Just like the Hubble, our lenses may need adjustment. Maybe as we evaluate our lives, make resolutions, and try to be better, it is possible we are attacking the wrong problem. Rather than worry about the uncomfortable behaviors that are the fruit of our identity first, we may need to examine the lens that we get that identity from.
And make adjustments. So that we can see clearly to fix the real problem.