Looking To Jesus

September 12, 2020
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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.

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About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, John.

    Jesus is the answer, for everything. Thank you for writing.

    Good morning, John Stuart,
    I always appreciate your devotionals so much.

    Thank you, John, for your very powerful message.
    May God keep you safe and healthy.

    Good advice for 2020, John. And interesting information about one of my favorite songs.

    What an engaging and exciting story, thanks for sharing. May it help us to have courage in our faith.

    Grateful, John, for these well-chosen but simple words of faith that turn my eyes to Jesus, today. Thanks for writing this reminder.

    There are many things especially at this time of the pandemic that pull our attention from Him, and into a spiral of anxiety.
    We need this reminder.

    Thank you. I will turn my eyes to Jesus, as I return to in person piano lessons on Monday. Wearing my face mask and a plexiglass divider. And back to church tomorrow!
    (Manitoba, Canada)

    John Stuart,
    Thank you for reminding us to turn our eyes on Jesus. May God keep calling us to do so in prayer and in praise.
    And may we remember as we fear covid to “trust and pray for there’s no other way” … than to call upon Him.

    Greetings John,
    Very good devotional and excellent advice to keep our eyes fixed on our loving saviour for He truly is the one that watches over us at all times.
    Blessings for the writings you submit and may you be kept safe and healthy thru this unusual pandemic time.

    Thank you, John, for sharing your thoughts with one of my favorites. My husband and I sang together for 60 years and we loved to sing this for its message.
    For many years he served God and Country at the same time as a Chaplain and I was always so proud of him, even when he was gone.
    Thank you.

    Love that chorus! It’s on my “Morning Praise” playlist, just to help me focus for the day.
    BTW the smoke coming up from Washington reminds me of foggy winters in Glasgow, when shirt collars would be blackened and if you wore a hanky over your face for protection it would have two black circles at your nostrils.
    Hope you are staying well in Tennessee!
    (BC, CA)

    Hi John,
    Thank you for this important reminder to keep our eyes on Jesus!

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