Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Have you ever met someone from another place and timed how quickly the conversation moves to talking about the weather? Not just the weather: I notice that there’s a sort of “one-upmanship” that happens. 

“You have storms? Well, we have tornadoes.” 

“You think that’s cold? Well, you should try winter in my part of the country.” 

We move quickly to talking about how bad we’ve got it. 

I think the same thing would happen talking with someone from another time and place. Not just talking about the weather, but comparing our eras in terms of all the things that make life hard: discrimination, political corruption, oppression, fear of the future. And invariably, we’d think and say we’ve got it the worst. I bet there’s no time in history when people didn’t think the end was near, and we were better off yesterday. This kind of lament for the failing of one’s culture, one’s society, is so prevalent today, even among Christians, that I wonder if we’ve forgotten that Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).

This isn’t the kind of life or worldview God has given us. Search your bible for “do not be afraid” or “do not fear.” Over and over, God speaks peace to his people and reminds us that we have nothing to fear. Romans 8:18-39 is a powerful statement of courage and hope. Nothing can separate us from the love and power of God shown in Jesus Christ.

I think we find ourselves in trouble when we let the voices of this world crowd out the proclamation of the resurrection. We listen to the chaos around us to the point that we stop listening to the still small voice reminding us of His presence (1 Kings 19:12).

There’s a great hymn called “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” And it’s all about the voices we allow to shape the reality around us:

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

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.

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We need to meet for worship. We need to spend moments in prayer. We need to read God’s word and meditate on his story. Not for our salvation: this is not legalism. We need to do these things because if we don’t we will be weary and troubled by the things of earth.

And then, with eyes on Jesus, we need not hide from the injustice we see around us. Instead, we can run toward it, bringing the hope and peace of Jesus Christ. 

Because the world needs us to tell Jesus’ story. It’s a story that overcomes.

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