FIXING OUR GAZE
Many times we tend to worry so much about things that we loose focus on finding solution to the issue. Our problems engulf us so much that it seems like living with the problem is the way to go forward, thereby burdening our hearts with unnecessary weights that should not be attached to us, simply because we don’t know who or what will help us get out of our mess. Instead of going forward, we keep spiraling around our problems forgetting that it is just a problem and just like other problems that have come before it, there is a solution; and if and when we find what is superior to it, then it will definitely answer to it. Luke 12:25 says ‘Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! (NLT). This brings me to our discussion, “Fixing your gaze on who really matters.”
First, what does it mean to fix your gaze? It simply means to look at something so intensely for a long time or stare at something without any distraction whatsoever. What if I told you that most of the time, why we feel the problems in our lives are without solutions is because we have, consciously or unconsciously, continuously fixed our gaze on them for a long time that it feels like they are without solutions because all we now see is the problem. For instance, a beautiful lady, who in the eyes of everyone around her is strikingly beautiful, but to her when she stands in front of the mirror, all she sees are her scars, imperfections and inadequacies as a person, thus making her feel ugly unconsciously because her mind had been repeatedly programmed to see herself as ugly, lacking any beauty. Or sometimes it is even the people around us who make us see more of our imperfections. They somehow find a way to keep us in constant reminder of how greatly incomplete we are. Relating these examples to us, its same thing we do when we focus so much on the issues that surrounds us.
WHAT OR WHO REALLY MATTERS?
To answer this question, we have to ask ourselves an honest question, what takes priority in our lives, in our table of preference as individuals, what ranks first? I am going to give you a personal experience of how I was able to answer this question. So, when I actually had knowledge of my identity as a Believer, I still exalted some things above God. I believed so much in the love of two individuals that were important to me, the reason was that I had felt their love more than any other love someone else had to offer, not even God’s. So I told him, if he wanted me to rank him first place then I should see reasons, and that my faith was not enough to put him as first in my life, surprising right? To cut the story short, God gave me more than enough reasons to see why His love will always supersede whatever love I will ever experience, because along the way I was greatly disappointed by the people I esteemed most in my life. So, there and then, I made a turn around and made a resolution that I would only focus on God because his love will never fail me, and even when I am without strength, if my eyes be on him, he will carry me through.
Matt.14.28-31, “Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water. All right, “come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him. “You don’t have much faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (NLT). So just like Peter in this passage, a lot of us lose focus on what really matters, the determining factor in our lives, who God is, in all his awesomeness. In our last article, our writer pointed out that, salvation is the greatest gift that mankind can ever have, because what is greater than being saved from ourselves and reconciled back to God who we were formerly enemies with? If we, knowing and acknowledging this truth, still soil it our worries and cares of the world, then the salvation we claim to have is not really able to save us completely, and the power in the name of Jesus we profess is made fallible. In the words of John Piper, “God is most glorified, when we are most satisfied in Him.” Well put to say that God is most glorified in us when we are most rested in Him. As easy as laying down our burdens sounds like, it is an intentional action which requires conscious efforts to be achieved, and in return we are ‘rest’ assured of God’s Sovereign power to replace our ashes with beauty.
In John.16.33, Jesus told the disciples and everyone who believes, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT). If we must have Joy and Peace then we must first choose them, each day of our lives, not turning our gaze from the one who really matters in our lives. In this age and time where a lot of things compete for our attention; like wealth, marital bliss, career, et cetera, just to mention a few, it is quite easy to shift our attention from the things of God, thereby misplacing our priorities. That is why Romans.14.17 reminds us that “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. (NLT). And what is more? 2Timothy 2:15 tells us whose approval and report should matter to us, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval…” (NLT). So do not focus so much on what anyone has to say about you so much that you forget what God’s report says about you. Do not focus so much on your situations or problems so much that they begin to define you outside God’s purpose and plans for you.
Therefore, 2Corinthians 3.18 urges: “And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more”. (NLT). The veil in this context, can be said to represent the things that has impaired our vision of the One who truly matters and shifted our gaze, now we can all return our focus knowing that the Joy and Peace we seek can only be found in Christ Jesus, not by focusing on our worries or cares, in so doing we are made whole and more like him in every area of lives that is lacking, because we now live as overcomers, more than conquerors, in every sense of the word, we function from a place of rest and not of strife because our High priest, Jesus, has paid the ultimate price in our stead.
H. Lemmel’s words,
“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".
And from Hudson Taylor,
“Bear not a single care thyself, one is too much for thee; The work is Mine, and Mine alone; Thy work – to rest in me.”