The ultimate challenge: to keep eyes on God. Many different challenges circulate, from the seemingly silly, the fundraising challenge for a cause, the personal challenge to overcome. One challenge has been on the forefront of my mind: to keep my eyes focused on God. Broadcasts and stories are challenging the things we knew or thought we knew. Message after message contradicting itself. This year has presented challenges like never before in literally every single detail of life. We are given a challenge in Scripture to keep our eyes on God, live standing firm on His Word. This year seems like that challenge has been tested to the core. Bringing the questions forward: Who am I really trusting? Believing? Who am I listening to?
Staying faithfully focused is challenging in all sorts of ways, day dreams come, topics that don’t interest, or meetings dragging on too long, cause the mind to wander at a basic level. Then there are distractions that stir emotion. A word, statement or image send our attention into tailspin emotion. These emotions bring out a whole other level of challenge. Oh the human emotions! Knee-jerk reactions from deep seated emotions can rattle even the most grounded person; inciting a 180 on focus.
The fastest way to let the challenge of keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord is a falter in our emotions. We hear things that scare us, or offend us, or downright anger us and then let emotions take over. These emotions are so damaging when not checked quickly. The vain imaginations can begin as a little quip in the mind and turn into a boiling over total mess within just a few moments, our minds conjuring up the most graphic of far out tale. Jesus has told us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have over come the world John 16:33 NIV” you will have trouble in the world. Wow! Has there been some trouble lately. There now seems to be trouble even in the most mundane thing.
The ability to keep Eyes on God is only going to come by listening to Jesus’ instructions. The only way we can take heart, is to keep our eyes on Jesus and our hearts, minds and ears engaged on his truth. In Jesus is where the peace we crave is found. We cannot allow our minds, ears and hearts to take in all the noise- and be it angry, divisive, fear ridden, half truth noise and allow it to consume our time, attention and energy. We have to train ourselves to quickly turn to Jesus, and say, “this is the trouble you warned us about, help”
I am as guilty as the next of hearing something reported and becoming very upset or angry or very scared, and totally forgetting what Jesus has said. The moment I allow these outside messages to enter my mind, it is of utmost importance to take the thoughts that come from things I have heard/seen/felt to Jesus. IMMEDIATELY! It is the only way to not be led astray by emotions, or vain imaginations.
Here are two ways this message is traslated: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV and, We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5NIV
The longer we let our imaginations/mind go on run away trails, the harder the challenge becomes to keep eyes on God.
We have never lived in a “season” like this before and we have also never been so inundated with such a plethora of information. Not only is it information that is being presented, it is information that has messages and agendas behind it. Scripture says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and gentle as doves. Matthew 10:16 NIV” We must be grounded in the Word of God and must be in prayer continually. We must be continually learning who God is and his character so we are being equipped and empowered to discern what we are hearing and seeing so we live wisely. It is so important we take all our thoughts about the things going on around us to God to be able to stay firmly grounded in Him. I must confess, I have gone down many “rabbit holes” in trying to learn and discern. Sadly at the expense of the loss of spending time in the Word and in prayer, where true understanding and discernment are found.
We most definitely want to be wise and understanding to what is going on in our communities, states and globally. But the only one who truly knows it all is God. In order to thrive and live with eyes on God, facing fears and concerns is to keep praying and seeking the Lord more than we are seeking anything else. Greater time in Scripture and prayer and less time listening to all the noise of the world, be it a news station, a social media outlet or even talking to others, is key to keeping eyes on God. To do and live our best durning this time is the crucial practice of staying in the Word daily, praying and taking quiet moments to listen to God’s response and turn off all the other “noise”. Remember He hears every prayer you pray, and so many need prayer, and prayer is POWERFUL. We are not left hopeless and powerless in the midst of all the chaos. We have the God of the Universe listening and helping us in his most Divine way!
May we be found faithfully trusting God in the power and love we have been given by the Holy Spirit, walking and talking with our Good Father more than we are focusing on anything else.
Let’s pray for each other and ask God to help us meet the challenge of keeping our eyes on Him!
Eyes fixed upward!