Puttin’ on the Blinders: How to Keep Our Focus on Christ
By Dianne E. Butts
In the mountain town where I used to live, big Belgium work horses wore head gear with blinders—big black wings cupping the horse’s eyes. I thought blinders were cruel, but a friend who knows horses, said, “Blinders are useful tools. Horses have limited side vision. Sudden movements can frighten them, causing them to bolt. Plus, blinders help horses focus down the road on their destination.”
What if we had spiritual blinders that would block out what might cause us to shy away from living for Christ while keeping us focused on our destination in Him?
Shying at Shadows
A rustle in a bush or a sudden movement can startle a horse causing it to shy.
I have experienced unexpected assaults in my spiritual life. When a long-time friend came to Christ, I shared the great news. “The Holy Spirit led her to Christ,” one friend said. “Claiming you did it is the sin of pride.”
I was stunned. Instead of others rejoicing, hurtful words came unexpectedly. Harsh words, anger, betrayal, criticism, misunderstandings, misinterpreted motives and more can cause us to shy.
Jesus experienced assaults from the shadows. The Pharisees opposed Him (Matthew 21:23). The crowd misunderstood Him (John 6:15). Even His disciples rebuked Him (Matthew 16:22). He retreated, spent time with His Father, blocked out what would divert Him from His course, and refocused on His Father’s will. Jesus was putting on His blinders.
A good work horse isn’t tempted by clumps of grass, but the mare I rode as a kid sure was. Sudden shadows cause us to shy, but we choose to go off course for temptations. Covetousness. Envy. Gossip. Selfishness. Criticism. Materialism. Temptations attract me like green grass on the side of the road.
Jesus faced temptations. In John 11:7‑8, the disciples tempted Jesus to delay His trip to Jerusalem. And the cross.
When I’m tempted by what I see in this visible, physical world, I try to “fix [my] eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Distracted from Our Destination
One clown in a parade allowed her horse to drift toward the curb, sniffing and nibbling at giggling children. But drifting toward distractions can be dangerous.
My husband, Hal, a highway patrolman, says his biggest danger is inattentive drivers. “If a driver focuses on my patrol car, he’ll tend to drive straight toward it.”
There are “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Even joining a ministry, teaching a class, holding an office, or leading a Bible study can draw us away from doing the work Christ has called us to accomplish.
In Acts 6:1-2, the Grecian Jews complained their widows were being overlooked. The Twelve said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.” They assigned others to carry out the ministry to the widows and kept their eyes focused on the work God had uniquely called them to accomplish.
Spiritual blinders help me focus on the unique work God has called me to do—nothing more, so I will accomplish nothing less.
Dependent on the Handler
While blinders can help us focus, they also limit our vision causing us to be more dependent on our Handler. We depend on Him to lead us past the scary shadows, beyond the sideline temptations, and through distractions as we “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and walk straight toward Him, our destination.
Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.
Bio: Dianne E. Butts has written for over 50 Christian magazines and a dozen compilation books, including Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Best Stories of Faith and God Encounters: Stories of His Involvement in Life’s Greatest Moments (Howard Books, October 2009). Her work has appeared in Great Britain, Bulgaria, Poland, Canada, and Korea. When she’s not writing, she enjoys riding her motorcycle with her husband, Hal, and gardening with her cat, P.C. They live in Colorado. www.DianneEButts.com www.DeliverMeBook.blogspot.com
(This article originally appeared in Light and Life, 11-12/2002.)