A friend recently gave me Jesus Calling, a little devotional book in which the author recorded notes in her journal for each day as she read Scripture, messages related to that Scripture that she sensed Jesus was saying to her about her life. One of the readings jumped out at me with its relevance to my life, and probably yours:
Make Me your focal point as you move through this day. Just as a spinning ballerina must keep returning her eyes to a given point to maintain her balance, so you must keep returning your focus to Me. Circumstances are in flux, and the world seems to be whirling around you. The only way to keep your balance is to fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes. If you gaze too long at your circumstances, you will become dizzy and confused. Look to Me, refreshing yourself in My Presence,, and your steps will be steady and sure. (Sarah Young. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, p. 120. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004).
Life is busy–for all of us, regardless of our age or stage in life. The things we are busy with, the ways we are busy, and the distractions around us change, but it is, and probably always has been, easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. I have a husband, three adult children, two sons-in-law, a renovation project on the old farmhouse that my husband grew up in, an elderly uncle that I drive to appointments and keep track of, and lots of involvements at church. My kids don’t live at home and I don’t even have a paying job, and I still keep quite busy!
So it was really good for me to read “Make me your focal point as you move through this day. . . . The only way to keep your balance is to fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes.”
Hebrews 12:2 says, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus is our Saviour, the foundation of our faith, our ultimate goal and objective as we live our lives for God with the hope of spending eternity with him. You probably know that when you work toward a goal, it helps to keep the end result in mind to motivate and inspire you as you work toward the finish—whether one is running a race, studying for an exam, renovating a house, or doing anything worthwhile that takes time and effort to complete. It’s no different with Jesus; we do better in life when we focus on Him.
You may or may not run races, build houses, or take exams. But I am certain that your life can be confusing at times–“circumstances are in flux, and the world seems to be whirling around you,” as the devotional writer put it. Psalm 102:27 says, referring to God, “But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” Isn’t it great to know that though the world around us changes, though our circumstances change, though family and friends may or may not live up to our expectations, God never changes? His love, care, and concern for us, his faithfulness, justice, mercy, patience, his sovereignty, and all the other characteristics that make him God, never change.
So how do we focus on Jesus, fixing our eyes on him and seeking his kingdom first? Col. 3:1-4 tells us to set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Set our hearts on things above: Focus our attention on Jesus and what He has done for us. He died to save us from our sins, to forgive us, to enable us to have a relationship with God and to spend eternity with him.
Set our minds on things above: Read God’s Word and train our minds to dwell on the holy. Colossians 3 tells us, in very practical terms, to get rid of the attitudes or practices that belong to our earthly nature, including bad temper, irritability, and dishonesty, among other things, and to take on the attitudes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love for others, and gratitude.
When we set our hearts and minds on godly things, we experience the peace of Christ, and are able to look forward to our goal, eternity with Jesus. As the devotional writer ended her notes, it is as if Jesus is telling us, “Look to Me, refreshing yourself in my Presence, and your steps will be steady and sure.”
The hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, was written in 1918 by a woman named Helen Lemmel, who was given a tract by a missionary friend, which contained the line, “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face, and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.” Lemmel wrote that she was compelled to stand still and listen to a new chorus ringing in her heart, soon followed by words to verses, all inspired by God’s Spirit. Helen’s hymn has been translated into many languages and used by God to remind many believers to focus on Jesus and to live their lives devoted to Him.
O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free!
Thru death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there; over us sin no more hath dominion—For more than conquerors we are!
His word shall not fail you—He promised; believe Him, and all will be well: Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Listen to the Newsboys arrangement of Where You Belong with the chorus of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, see the images, and allow the words to soak into and ring in your heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQzAYQE-U4Q
Prayer: Jesus, you are the perfect Source of and Reason for my faith, and You never change, even though I often whirl about in a busy tizzy. Help me to fix my eyes on You, my heart on You, and my mind on You, so that I may dwell on what is holy and good, and have Your peace in my soul. Amen.
Contributed by Sharon Anderson