If I’m troubled with this world, I just might be looking at the wrong thing. So, what am I looking at? What have I fixed my vision upon? What am I preoccupied with? If we’re troubled and feel like everything is in crisis, we just might be looking at the wrong thing. If Christ is not the preeminent focus of our gaze, we’ll be susceptible to any and every attack.
The Wrong Thing – Feelings
I can personally struggle with those feelings that everything is in crisis. Usually it is first thing in the morning as I am starting my day. You know, those disconcerting feelings that everything is in disarray and that I’m somehow in eminent danger. Why does this happen? I believe it’s because there’s a war to discourage and defeat us. It isn’t just a few believers who are experiencing this; I think it’s global. It’s an attempt to keep us unsettled, defensive, and saving our own lives. And if you happen to be listening to the media, we’re in permanent crisis no matter who you are.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 16:25 ESV
The enemy is trying to dishearten us and tempt us to quit the race. He says, “Lay back and stop fighting, it’s just too hard.” It’s an assault on our lives with the intended purpose to discourage. If you’re experiencing despair and discouragement, it just might be a vision problem not a circumstantial issue. At least, this has been my experience.
Clues to the Wrong Thing
Here’s a clue: God is never nebulous. The Lord doesn’t deal in vague crises with nothing specific. God is always very direct in His identifying of issues. His chastisement is specific, His instruction is specific, and His encouragement is specific. He is a good Father and an amazing communicator. He is direct and forthright; it is the enemy who works in fog.
Knowing this, as I rise in the morning I can choose to hone my focus and stop looking at the wrong thing. The Spirit of Jesus has an amazing way of clarifying and dialing in my vision. And He doesn’t wish for me to be stressed and fearful. God doesn’t peddle in fear mongering or motivate with hysteria. Our God is the God of Peace and He is sovereign. He is the Power and the Control.
We can look at the characters in the Bible. It isn’t like there was always circumstantial ease and situational tranquility. Often there was a worldly catastrophe, all the while the men and women of God rested not looking at the wrong thing. Their vision was God and He directed their vision.
Examples of the Wrong Thing
There are so many examples of this. For instance, I am sure they were reporting in the “Israeli Today” of Daniel’s time total doom and gloom. How could they not? The Jews were living under God’s judgment in Babylonian exile. Their Temple was destroyed and Nebuchadnezzar took the best of the best for himself, leaving the rest of Jerusalem leveled. For all intents and purposes, this was a major crisis. But Daniel lived in a different mindset. He didn’t live looking at the wrong thing; he was captivated by the view of his Heavenly Father.
Though it is easy to veer our focus and start looking at the wrong things, we can change that with just a slight heart shift. We can choose to turn our eyes upon Jesus. No matter what the circumstance, He is never lost.
Throughout the ages, troubling circumstances and wearying situations have come and gone. Like the ebb and flow of the ocean, crises come and go. Today’s crisis will be tomorrow’s forgotten memory. But the sure and steadying mark of all our lives is Jesus – following where He leads, looking at what He sees, and focusing on His thoughts.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
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.
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.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.