Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
2017 and 2018 have been very memorable years for the Torres family. Stress and struggle on so many different fronts have come our way. But through it all, God has been faithful and his people here at TCC have been loving and generous and kind. They have repeatedly shown Jesus to us. In the end, THAT is what our greatest comfort and strength is—JESUS himself.
A few evenings ago I went to bed with concern consuming my mind. Worried about what the future may hold. When I woke the following morning my first conscious thought was “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.”
How very true these words have proven to be over the last year and three months. But what does it mean to turn your eyes upon Jesus? And what happens when we do?
Read: Hebrews 12:1-2 and Colossians 3:1-2. We see from Hebrews 12 that the author urges the reader to lay aside everything that holds us back AND sin. For not everything that hinders our walk, hinders our race, is sin. Paul gives us some clue to his mindset in pursuing Christ in Philippians 3:7-16. (It might be helpful for you to turn to that passage before continuing.)
Do you see Paul’s heart here? The goal he refers to, the portion, is God in Christ. Paul’s heart echoes the psalmist’s. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26 ESV). Paul fixed his eyes on Jesus. Jesus was his reason, Jesus was his motivation, Jesus was his prize, Jesus was his reward. Jesus was Paul’s Way, Jesus was Paul’s Truth and Jesus was Paul’s Life.
For Paul, Jesus was who Jesus truly IS. The reason and purpose for existence. THIS is why Paul was able to stand firm despite all the earthly sufferings he endured. Because in them ALL he was drawing closer to that which mattered most—Jesus.
And as Paul went through it all with his heart and mind focused on Christ, as he enjoyed fellowship with his king in the midst of all life’s trials, what do you suppose happened in Paul?
In 1 John 3:2 we read “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” In one glorious moment, as we are face to face with our Savior, all that is in us that is not like Jesus shall be swept away and we will be like him. Why? Because we will see Him as He is.
You see, that is the consequence of fellowship with Jesus. That is what occurs in the heart and lives of those who truly seek Him and set their minds on Him. He makes them progressively like Him in life and ultimately like Him when they see Him face to face.
There is no avoiding the ramifications of this truth. The one who focuses on Christ WILL become more like Christ. They do not do this work. Christ does the work IN them. Christ uses His word and He uses the words and lives of the body of Christ to bring this change. The one focused on Jesus does not resist this continual transformation.
This is a glorious hope for each of us: that in every trial, in every hardship, in every rebuke, in every correction, in every wound, God desires to make us more like Jesus. This is not about piety for piety’s sake. This is about a closer walk with Jesus, an ever deeper fellowship with the one who is our portion. This is the goal toward which Paul pressed on.
But let us not avoid the uncomfortable applications of this truth. If fellowship with Jesus always results in becoming more like Him, what must we assume about ourselves if we are not progressively becoming more like Him?
Beloved, my hope for you, my heart for us all, is that we might never settle, that we would no longer allow ourselves to be shortchanged by the lies of the world and the lies of our own hearts and minds.
Let us no longer settle for little concerns and dreams over Christ. Let us no longer settle for fool’s gold like ego, worldly expectations, offenses and self-made opinions. Let us recognize and no longer be entangled by our sinful thoughts, attitudes, words or deeds. Let us no longer settle for less than Jesus!
JESUS IS BETTER!
Pastor Brian TorresJune 1, 2019