Can you think of a time when you took your eyes off of the Lord? Who or what contributed to you misplacing your vision? What or who helped you to refocus?
It’s no wonder we struggle at times when we take a look at someone in our community who seems like they have it together and we later learn they don’t. We may have looked at a celebrity in the news like an athlete, entertainer, or speaker (and a Christian they claim, to boot), and thought they are bright, influential, and charismatic. Later we learn they were not all they claimed to be…or we made them out to be more than they claimed by our adulation.
There are men and women who serve as healthy and honorable role models in all walks of life. We are wise to find mentors and models who embody Christ-like characteristics that live close enough that we might benefit from relational connection. Authors like John Maxwell and Bill Hybels have shaped my life and leadership for over twenty years through their writings, but I have never met them or had reason to doubt the veracity of their books or question their integrity.
Yet there is one person we absolutely have to keep our eyes on, and that is Jesus.
Read Hebrews 12:2 and Psalm 123:1-2.
Scripture and prayer are available to help us keep our gaze and life centered on Him.
The writer of Hebrews described Scripture as an anchor for our soul. The Psalmist said it was light for our feet. Matthew said it was food for our soul. Overall, the Bible is resolute through its sixty-six books in describing and defining the Author of Life and Savior of our soul. We do well to “study to show ourselves approved” and cultivate a life of obedience to “live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6). In His Word, God speaks to us and we get direction from Him. Through His Word, we sink our roots down into His character and find Spirit-given strength to become like Him.
Through prayer we speak to God, having the opportunity and intimacy to praise His greatness, confess our sins, share our needs, and intercede for others. When we lose our focus and find ourselves in the desert of shame and guilt, we can return to His compassionate mercy and loving kindness by fixing our eyes on Jesus (Psalm 123:1). As the song says, we can “look full into His wonderful face” without fear or reprisal.
The reality is that when we fix our gaze on Jesus, we not only walk in His mercy, but also watch for His signal as to an upcoming move. God alone knows our next assignment, so it is vital for us to keep our eyes on Him and keep in step with Him (Psalm 123:2).
When we take our eyes off of Jesus and fix them on someone or something else, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Think of Peter when he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the water – he immediately began to sink. That is the image of what happens as a consequence of misplaced vision. Fear, worry, apprehension, misguided values, terror, and instability all result.
If we want to make progress in our faith journey, we must fix our eyes on the One whom our faith depends from start to finish. Doubt, fear, guilt, trials and struggles will come your way and threaten to overwhelm you now and then. Walk wisely. Watch and pray. Listen and obey. You will never be disappointed if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
Love is a verb,
©2014 by Mike Olejarz