Whatever we focus on has the power to influence how we think, speak and live.
To produce better and wiser thoughts and actions, God tells us to stay focused on Him, to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Irrespective of what is happening around us, God wants us to look unto Jesus.
One of the reasons why the Bible tells us to keep our eyes on Jesus, to study how He lived and learn from Him is because Jesus never lost sight of where He was going and on what God had sent Him to do (John 6:38). If we don’t stay focused on God, we will be focused on what other people are doing and our vision will get blurred. In other words, we will get distracted from what God wants us to do because we are busy trying to do what someone else is doing. Not many people actually liked Jesus’ preaching or applauded Him, some thought His teachings were too hard and stopped following Him (John 6: 60, 66), but He didn’t change His style, His message or His appearance to gain people’s approval. The fastest way to derail from what God wants us to do is to be focused on pleasing people (Galatians 1:10), or to spend our time trying to match up to someone else’s talents, skills, looks and dressing, marriage, parenting style or financial status. It’s good to admire other people, but it is foolish to want to be someone else. The only person we are told to be like is Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:21, Romans 8:29, Philippians 2:5). The determination of Jesus to complete what God sent Him to do, to remain true to Himself even when people were hostile to Him or didn’t believe in Him, should encourage and motivate us to stick to what God has called us to do, the vision He has put in our heart and the person He has created us to be.
Looking unto Jesus, keeps our thoughts on God’s love and goodness. The cross and the nail pierced hands of Jesus reflect God’s love for us. God wants us to continually dwell on His love. His love is constant. We are loved by God and His love isn’t dependent on how far we have gone in life, the level we are right now or the distance we are yet to cover. If we don’t stay focused on God and His love for us expressed through the sacrificial death of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, our mind will be focused on things we don’t have or things that haven’t happened in our life. What this does is to close our mind to the many blessings God has given us that we didn’t work for, we can’t afford, or we don’t even deserve.
If we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus, our eyes will be glued to our needs and problems. Not only will this get us anxious, worked up and afraid, we will forget that God is bigger than all problems, God doesn’t run out of resources or solutions. There is no mistake the hand of God can’t correct, there is no damage the hand of God can’t repair, there is no burden the hand of God can’t lift. Problems are magnified when our eyes are on them, but when we look to Jesus, our faith is strengthened as we see a God who can turn water to wine; a God who can bring something out of nothing. We see a God who can bring Lazarus back to life; a God who can turn any hopeless situation around. We see as we look to Jesus, how the clutches of death couldn’t hold Him captive; we see a God that no chain or barrier is too difficult for Him to break.
Like a road sign which tells you which direction to take, whether to go straight, turn right or left, what our eyes are fixed on, determine the direction our life will take. If we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus who has gone ahead of us, our mind will be fixed on things that are behind us like our past mistakes or achievements. Focusing on past mistakes keeps us from reaching out to embrace the new thing God wants to do in our lives. Focusing on past achievements makes us conclude that we have made it or arrived, when there are greater heights God wants us to press on to attain.
We need to keep our eyes on Jesus so our thoughts aren’t fixed on only what is happening in the world and we lose sight of where we are headed; we think this world is our permanent home and not live with eternity in mind. Anytime we look unto Jesus, we are looking and moving heavenward. As we look to Jesus, we drop and get rid of unwanted baggage; those sins that easily beset us and can keep us from pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
I pray that from today, God will take our eyes off everything that can distract or derail us and help us keep our eyes on Jesus, our source of hope, life and clear direction.
PHOTO CREDIT: Beth Talo on Unsplash