“…looking unto Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2).
Too often in life I have learned that the things I feared, and focused on, were merely distractions from the devil. At the time, however, I really thought they were important matters that I had to attend to. The Lord corrected me and taught me to keep my eyes on Him. This can be a challenge because the devil uses important things as distractions. This is why it is vital to commit all we are, all we have and everyone we love, to Jesus. We are to entrust all our cares, and everyone we care about, to the Lord, because when we don’t the devil will use that care we have yet to cast to the Jesus, to distract us from what we really are called to do.
Now, keep in mind this lesson is from the Lord, and therefore it certainly is not to condemn anyone who has struggled in this area. For it is written there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). This lesson’s purpose is to reveal the truth to us so we can be free. For it is written, when you know the truth, the truth makes you free (John 8:32). It is time to walk in freedom…freedom from cares, and freedom from distractions. The only way to do this is to keep our eyes on Jesus. Today we will look at examples of the benefits of doing so, and even an example that illustrates the detriment of heeding distractions. As a result, we will know the truth, and it will set us free!
The infamous account of Jesus walking on water doesn’t just demonstrate for us the fact that Jesus can do the impossible, it also teaches us that ordinary people who fix their eyes on Jesus, are empowered to do extraordinary things. In contrast, it also shows us the consequences of being distracted. The account found in Matthew 14, beginning at chapter 22, records Jesus coming to His disciples in the fourth watch, walking on water during a storm that was contrary to them (Matthew 14). All the disciples had their eyes on Jesus, but one disciple in particular, Peter, asked the Lord to permit him to come to Him. Peter, with his eyes on Jesus, stepped out of the boat and walked on water just like God Himself did! Peter fixed his eyes on Jesus, and not the contrary waves and wind around him…although they were present the entire time. As long as Peter’s eyes were fixed on the Lord (his heart and attention was on the Lord), Peter walked on, not just any water (that would have been miraculous enough), but he walked on stormy water! Ah, the power of keeping our eyes of attention on Jesus. Then, however, Peter became distracted by the waves and wind (representing those things that seem contrary to us) and he took his eyes off Jesus, and put them on the problem instead. When he did that, he began to sink like lead. Jesus, in His love and mercy, saved Peter from himself…like He does us whenever we have began sinking, instead of soaring. We have learned a life-changing lesson here, with a striking contrast, showing us the power of keeping our eyes on Jesus, and the detriment of distractions. We also see the Lord’s heart toward us…full of unconditional love and mercy. I truly thank Jesus for His love and mercy…it indeed keeps us!
There is another example the Lord brought to my mind when meditating on keeping our eyes on Jesus. In the Old Testament, there is an account of a time when the children of Israel were in the wilderness and were bitten by serpents (Numbers 21:6). When the people cried out to the Lord for help, He told Moses to make a “fiery serpent” and put it on a pole and “it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live” (Numbers 21:8). This serpent was a picture of Jesus on the cross. Keep in mind, the Old Testament has Jesus throughout it, but hidden. It has shadows, but the substance is Christ (Colossians 2:17). We see that when the children of Israel kept their eyes on just the shadow of Jesus, their lives were literally saved, and not even a deadly- poisonous snake had power against them! The Substance is greater than the shadow! Therefore beloved, how much greater when we, as believers after Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, keep our eyes on Him, will be live, be delivered, breakthrough, enjoy perfect peace, victory and the fullness of the abundant life He promised us?
Another example of the power of keeping our eyes (focus) on Jesus is found in the life of Jehoshaphat. This account is found in 2 Chronicles chapter 20, beginning at verse 1. King Jehoshaphat was a king after God’s heart, and the enemy had to try him, therefore, he sent several armies against Jehoshaphat, and the people he ruled over. Naturally speaking Jehoshaphat and his nation were finished. Notably, this distraction the enemy sent against them was a matter of life or death. Yet, still Jehoshaphat fixed his eyes (attention) on the Lord. The bible records it like this: When Jehoshaphat heard the news that the enemy sent these armies against him, although he feared, he sought the Lord and prayed… “For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12, Bold Mine). King Jehoshaphat, clearly full of wisdom, also appointed people (not to fight), but to worship the Lord. You cannot worship the Lord without having your focus turned toward Him. [That is a very practical way of fixing our eyes on the Lord, along with praying to Him]. Jehoshaphat did just this! The result? “…the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated (2 Chron. 20:22). And, “…the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies (2 Chron. 20:27). These people kept their eyes fixed on the Lord and let Him take care of their problems, and they didn’t even have to lift a finger! The good news for us is that God is not a respecter of persons, and He changes not (Acts 10:34 & Hebrews 13:8). The good news for us? What God did for them when they kept their eyes on the Lord, (demonstrating they trust Him); He is doing for us!
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3).