A few weeks ago much of the United States experienced a solar eclipse. Thousands of people flocked to areas to get the best view of this rare phenomenon. The media warned the public that looking directly at the sun, without proper protection, could cause serious damage to your eyes.
In contrast, the Word of God tells us to look to the “SON.” The Son is Jesus Christ. Hebrews 12:2 “We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete…”
What does it mean to look to Jesus?
1. Looking means leaning.
Looking to Jesus means relying on him. The word translated “looking” has the idea of zeroing our gaze on something with confidence. The NIV captures it: “fixing our eyes.” As our help, Jesus is the one from whom we draw power. He is the one who has given us life (John 5:21) and has sent the Helper to be with us forever (John 14:16). We run this race only because of his word and only by the power of his Spirit. So we look to him. We lean on him.
2. Looking means not looking.
Another aspect embedded in this idea of looking is that we look without distractions. When we look to Jesus it means we are not looking at anything else. Looking to Jesus means looking to him alone. Looking to Jesus means he is our reward.
It is Jesus himself. Jesus is our goal. To look to him means to love him, to yearn to be with him, to see him as he his, to live in fellowship with him forever
We must let go of the good to grab hold of the better. To live a better life, it’s better to have less of what doesn’t matter and more of what does. Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 6, “Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind,” meaning that it is better to live a life of simplicity.
Most of us inhabit at least two worlds. For example, we live in one world of home and family and another of work. We have other “worlds” too, like the burger joint where we grab a quick lunch before we move on to our next world.
Even in the first century, the apostle Peter understood this concept. He makes frequent references to “this world” and “the eternal,” explaining that the way we respond to events in this life produces lasting effects in the eternal world so that what happens here influences us there.
This shouldn’t be surprising. We know, for example, that a nutritious breakfast in the morning affects the way we approach the rest of our day. And we understand that despite our efforts to keep the worries of work from following us home, our family members can usually sense when we are preoccupied with our jobs. So it shouldn’t seem strange that the way we live in the physical world affects our experience of the spiritual world.
Does that eternal, spiritual world seem distant to you? Or does Scripture’s portrayal of this profound reality motivate you to endure what otherwise might be too difficult for you to bear?
If you’ve been discouraged lately by opposition or setbacks in this life, give thought to the inheritance waiting for you.
Yesterday, I was shopping at Lowes Home Improvement store [One of my favorite stores.] I dutifully had my list of items I needed to purchase but when I came across the clearance rack, I found my favorite plant, Lantana. Clearance price? $1.00! So, I quickly took advantage of my good fortune!
While loading my items in my car, I discovered I had seven plants but had only paid for six. I had miscounted. [I never was good at Math.] So, I what do I do? After all, it was just a mistake; I was not attempting to steal anything and Lowes wouldn’t go bankrupt if I didn’t return it. I started to rationalize:
- It was a long walk back to the store and I was tired.
- I could return it later the next time at the store.
- It was only a dollar item! No big deal!
- People deliberately shoplift; so Lowes expects to lose a certain amount of product.
All those reasons made sense to me but the reality was still the same. I had something in my possession that did not belong to me and my conscious wouldn’t let me keep it. When I returned the plant and explained my the situation; the Lowes associate looked like they had just seen a green, one-eyed Martian!
I share this story, not to post on my own piety but to show us that honesty and integrity have become as extinct as the Do-Do bird. I want to be a person of integrity and I hope this is your goal.
Disclaimer: This story is what I felt that God required of me; you may have responded differently and I do not judge you. Allow the peace of God rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15
Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? They say that everyone has a twin but I could not verify the validity of that saying. But does everyone have a doppelganger? There is only so much genetic diversity to go around,” said Michael Sheehan, an assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University.
A new baby is born and someone is bound to say, “Doesn’t he look just like his Uncle Elmer?” Or you go to a family reunion and you prepare yourself for, “You look just like your Aunt Mable!” My family tells me that my grandson, Brice, looks, and acts just like me. [I am not sure if that is a criticism or a compliment!]
I found an interesting verse of Scripture, Acts 4:13 that says, “Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
I am not sure all that this verse implies but I do know that you become like the people you “hang” with. Proverbs 13:20″ He who walks with the wise will become wise…” So as Christ-follower, we must ask ourselves, “Does my behavior, attitude, and actions reflect that I have been with Jesus?
Surrender: to yield (something) to the possession or power of another
Control: to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command
Let’s be honest; most of us like to be in control. We stress out when things seem out of our control. Growing up with two brothers, control was a big issue, whether it was who would ride “shotgun” in the car or would we watch cartoons or American Bandstand. It feels nice to call the shots, drive the car, hold the mic, dominate the remote, and plan out a detour-free itinerary for our lives.
Control becomes a major issue when we refuse to surrender control of our lives to God. I’m like, “Hey God, I know you created the world, and exist outside of time, and are unquestionably wiser than anyone could imagine, but I just want to give you a heads up. You’re going the wrong way!”
Jesus prayed, “Your will be done,” right before His crucifixion; and our hearts, words, and lives should continue His prayer.
We cannot micromanage God, but we can trust Him. We can yield to His guidance, knowing He only leads us in the right direction.
We all get to choose. The options are confidence in our own partial understanding or surrender to the one who holds the map.
If you have raised children, they probably have done something that was foolish, destructive or even dangerous. And you ask them the proverbial question; “What were you thinking!?” The standard reply is usually, “I don’t know!” They are telling you the truth because they were not thinking! It came to their minds and without thinking or weighing the consequences, they did it.
I wonder if God asks the same question of us sometimes. Thoughts and impressions come and go through our minds and we never give them a second’s notice. But God’s Word says what we think, what we allow ourselves to dwell is very important. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to “... take hold of every thought and make it obey Christ.” Our thoughts should not control us; we must control our thoughts. Every sin and unChristlike behavior begin as a thought. In the Garden of Eden, Satan’s strategy was simply to place a thought in Eve’s mind that God was being unfair to them. Genesis 3:1 Eve should not have entertained that thought.
“Our lives move in the direction of our strongest thought,” [Craig Groeschel] You cannot control thoughts that come to your mind but you can reject from dwelling on them.