Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 12:1-2 – Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NASB)
When I first became a Christian, I gave my heart to Jesus at a weekly Gospel Club which was held in an old Gothic church in my hometown of Glasgow, Scotland. At the club each week, we sang many gospel hymns and choruses, all of which drew us closer to Jesus. At the end of the meeting, after the preacher's sermon, we would sing one last chorus called Turn your eyes upon Jesus by Helen Howarth Lemmel. It was a perfect way to end the club meeting, for the words reminded us that no matter what we faced, if we looked to Jesus, He would guide, bless, and care for us each day. The words are still with me today:
- 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.
It was much later when I discovered that the chorus is based on today's Bible verses. The writer of Hebrews was encouraging his readers to do the same thing: to fix their eyes upon Jesus and not to get distracted by their worries, cares, or concerns. Those first readers were enduring a time of real persecution when Christians were brought before Roman governors to renounce their faith in Christ by simply declaring that "Caesar is Lord", instead of believing that "Jesus is Lord". Many of them couldn't do this — they weren't prepared to compromise or displace Jesus with the Roman Emperor or the Empire itself because that would be idolatrous. Many of them died horrible deaths simply because they fixed their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of their faith.
In today's post-modern 21st-century world, we as Christians are called to do the same. We fix our eyes on Jesus and Him alone; we will not allow anything or anyone to replace Him, for to do so would damage our connection to God and relinquish our Christian faith.
Question: How do I fix my eyes on Jesus each day? Do I allow other things to distract me from focusing on Him? If so, do they keep me distant from Jesus?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we want to turn to You and fix our eyes solely on You. Prevent us from permitting anything to get in the way, so that we may faithfully join the great cloud of witnesses who have persevered throughout the centuries by fixing their eyes on You alone. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.