The word “blinders” often has negative connotations, but there is a positive and proper use of blinders. In the mountain town where I used to live, I remember the big Belgium work horses pulling sleighs loaded with hay. Attached to each horse's head gear were blinders — big black wings cupping the horse's eyes.


I used to think blocking part of a horse’s vision was mean. But my friend Sally, who knows horses, said, "It's not mean at all. Blinders are useful tools and we have good reasons for using them. Because horses’ eyes are situated toward the sides of their heads, they have limited side vision. Sudden movements can frighten them, causing them to bolt or shy away.


"Also," Sally continued, “it's hard for horses to see what lies directly ahead, so blinders help a horse focus on its destination."


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have spiritual blinders — blinders that would block out what might frighten us causing us to shy away from living for Christ while keeping us focused on our destination: completing a life lived in faith and purity to the Lord?


Shying at Shadows

Have you ever seen a horse shy? A rustle in a bush or a sudden movement can startle a horse send him fleeing so fast he can move right out from under a rider.


I have experienced startling assaults in my spiritual life, too. When a long-time friend came to Christ, I shared the great news with Christian friends. "The Holy Spirit led her to Christ,” one said. “Claiming you did it is the sin of pride."


I was stunned. I’d expected other believers to rejoice and be encouraged. Instead, hurtful words came suddenly and unexpectedly. Sudden shadows — harsh words, anger, betrayal, criticism, misunderstandings, misinterpreted motives — can cause us to shy.


When Jesus experienced assaults from the shadows — the Pharisees opposing Him (Matthew 21:23), the crowd misunderstanding Him (John 6:15), even His disciples rebuking Him (Matthew 16:22) — He often retreated to spend time with His Father. Through prayer, Jesus could block out the words and deeds of those who would divert Him from His course and refocus on His Father's will for Him. Jesus was putting on His spiritual blinders.


Tasting Temptations

A good work horse isn't tempted by juicy clumps of grass, but the mare I rode when I was a kid sure was. While sudden shadows might cause me to shy away, I choose to go off course for temptations. Covetousness. Envy. Gossip. Selfishness. A critical spirit. Materialism. Temptations attract me like green clumps of grass on the side of the road.


It's time to put on my blinders.


Jesus faced temptations. In John 11:7-8, the disciples tempted Jesus to delay His trip to Jerusalem. And the cross.