He [Jesus] took the blind man by the hand . . . and when He had put saliva on his eyes and laid His hands on him, he asked, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8: 23-25 (NRSV)
This account of Jesus’ healing recalls the saying, “A habit that takes years to form cannot be undone in one day.” We all have some habits that we could do without or some changes that we would like or need to make.
We all desire to break bad habits right now or be changed instantly. The truth is that habits are rarely undone or unlearned immediately. Nor are we changed overnight. Habits are broken and changes happen in steps. The same is true when it comes to our spiritual lives.
We spiritually mature into the persons God means for each of us to be and can become, step-by-step. Notice how Jesus heals the man of blindness. First, Jesus puts spit on his eyes and lays a hand on him, which allows him to see shadowy people who look like walking trees. It is not until Jesus takes the next step–laying hands on the man’s eyes–that the man fully regains his sight and is able to see clearly.
Becoming the person God means for us to be and can become does not happen overnight. It takes time. It requires going onto perfection in John Wesley’s words. Spiritual growth happens when we rethink our image of God in whose image we are made and refocus our vision on Jesus Christ who embodies God’s heart, mind, thoughts, and ways.
This requires getting to know God through prayer, praise, worship, giving, sharing, sacrifice, forgiving, being forgiven, and serving. It is in knowing God, personally, that we discover the power to kick bad habits to the curb and to believe that God changes us one moment, one thought, one act, one challenge, one opportunity, one day at a time.
Lent offers each of us the opportunity to follow Jesus to Easter’s message of new possibility and hope and, along the way, to drop bad habits and be changed into a “new you.”