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Seeing in Exile…

July 22, 2013

“Let fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)

ImageOn the Zomba Plateau, Malawi Central Africa

Whenever I am walking through the hills and forests around us, I always fix my sights on something on the horizon toward which I walk.  It keeps my path straight.  Farmers (before gps units) did the same thing in the field.  Of course if I’m looking for animals, I don’t look for animals.  I keep my eyes fixed on stationary objects that aren’t animals and let my eyes pick up the movement or the leg or tail that somehow is different.

Scripture admonishes us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus because Jesus is the solid rock, the permanent unchanging one around which everything else revolves, in which everything else makes sense, by which everything else is judged.

In my continuing walk with A.W. Tozer this summer I was reminded of fact that faith really is a gazing upon God.  It is a fixing of our focus.  All too often we allow ourselves to be distracted.  It may be an unanticipated prognosis, the loss of a loved one, or a radical change in our economic circumstances.  It may be a fear of what the future may hold or even anxiety about the replacement of a  member of the church’s staff.  Who knows?  But somehow we become distracted.  It is in these times that we need to readjust our gaze.  To take our eyes off the negativity of our particular circumstances or the fear we face and to refocus them upon the gracious God who stands ready to walk with us through the circumstances of life.

My own gaze is often taken off Jesus and placed on my own condition, even with the “best of intentions…”  A struggle for holiness.  Have I done enough?  What about this?  What about that?  Why don’t I do this?  Why do I do that?  In response to this Tozer offers this wonderful insight:

The man who has struggled to purify himself and has nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the Perfect One.”

It’s really not about us at all.  When we spend too much time worrying about our progress in sanctification, it can become a replacement for the God who Himself sanctifies us.  We are all sinners.  And God is all gracious.  We must repeatedly remind ourselves of this.  Not that we do not pursue sanctification but that we allow God’s work within us to sanctify us, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in His time.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)  It is something we all need to be reminded about from time to time.  Are you struggling with an illness, a diagnosis, a loss, a temptation, a fear, an anxiety, falling short of a personal expectation?  Cast all your cares on Him.  The great body of saints who have gone before us declare the way to freedom from anxiety and it is in this promise found in Hebrews:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith..

 May the Lord bless you with a renewed focus during these summer months.

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