Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV):
1Therefore, 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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Helen H. Lemmel (1863-1961) wrote the words and the music of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus in 1922. Her inspiration for the song, which Helen entitled The Heavenly Vision, came from the writings of author and artist Lilias Trotter (1853-1928). After struggling in prayer for two years, Trotter came to the conclusion that she must lay down her love of art in order to fix her eyes solely on Jesus, and on His calling to the mission field. She subsequently served for more than 38 years as a missionary to Muslims of Algeria. She also authored several books and tracts. The following is an excerpt from her tract, Which Passion Will Prevail? (http://www.sharefaith.com/guide/Christian-Music/hymns-the-songs-and-the-stories/turn-your-eyes-upon-jesus-the-song-and-the-story.html)
“Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen harmless worlds at once — art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the good hiding the best.” It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory. Turn your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him.”
– Lilias Trotter
Has your walk with God lost its focus? Are you “fixed” on your Savior, Christ Jesus? Are you fixated with the current wave of news and social media that bombards our minds on a daily basis? We are easily drawn into the debate on whether or not we support gay marriage. We are consumed with the debate over a flag that has created constant debate and attention. We seem to have forgotten the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting that took the lives of nine followers of Christ, including the church’s pastor. Our attention and talk has turned to debate over a flag instead of hearing stories about these nine Christians and their walk of faith and their strong desire to follow Christ, even in a world that does not acknowledge Christ.
As followers of Christ, we come face to face with sin and opposition to God’s word every day. We must remember that Christ endured the same kind of opposition and he kept His faith firmly entrenched in God. Christ calls us, as His followers, to do the same. When we become entangled in the endless debates that rage on and on, we take our mind and our focus away from Christ. And that is exactly what the evil one wants us to do. Say “no” to this world and to Satan and “turn your eyes upon Jesus.” Live out a life of faith that keeps its focus on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith.” And do this so that, as the author of Hebrews reminds us, “you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
How do you keep your focus upon Christ? I would love to hear from you.