KEEPING OUR EYES ON CHRIST
By DR. ABRI BRACKEN
It is so important that we as believers keep our eyes on Jesus. In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul encouraged them to set their minds on heavenly things (Colossians 3:1-4)
Col 3:1 If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.
Col 3:3 For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory.
The battle over your focus & attention
The world wants you to give your focus and attention to everything else except the LORD.
Where is your mind set?
What is it that dominates your thought life?
You have to understand that in the spirit realm there is a battle raging for your attention and your focus.
The enemy does not want you to focus on Jesus, and therefore there is a constant spiritual push to redirect your focus away from things above, away from the LORD.
Your focus becomes your reality.
You become what you behold.
What you focus on, that is the direction that your life journeys toward.
If your ultimate focus is wealth, status, pleasure and temporal things, etc. you will do everything within your power to achieve that, but if your focus is placed on Christ, on heavenly things, your decision making process will be affected by it.
God is jealous over us:
God is jealous over you.
He does not want to share you with the world.
When our eyes are not on Him, we believe more in our anxieties than in the nature of God.
"You will have no other God's before Me" He told the Hebrews (Exodus 20:3)
"You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God," (Exodus 20:5)
The Hebrew word for jealous in Ex 20 is Qanna
קַנָּא (qannâ'), means to be Jealous and zealous. That is how God feels over us.
The demand of the covenant we have with the LORD implies single-minded worship of God alone.
Don't let your heart turn from him and go after other things.
Connected to the Source:
He is passionate over us and as our source He knows that we cannot achieve anything that is lasting without Him.
Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
The thing that makes Christianity unique is the fact that we are connected to the source of life itself.
Sadly, we often allow ourselves to be distracted from living that reality.
If you need wisdom, God is the source.
We often draw from and rely on worldly wisdom instead of going to God.
If you need understanding in how to deal with the challenges of life, God knows all things and being the source of all knowledge can reveal to you what you need to know.
This is a simple concept and most of us know it, but very few people live this reality.
Electrical appliance, has all the potential to work and do what it was created for, but unless it is plugged into electricity, cannot fulfill purpose.
Keeping your eyes on Jesus strengthens you to deal with this life's challenges.
An electrical appliance can only work when it is plugged into electricity.
Seek first His Kingdom:
Above all else, set your "affection" on the LORD.
Jesus said that we should firstly seek the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33)
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
The reality is that many Christians do seek the Kingdom, but very few seek it first.
Sometimes we think that we are really devoted to God, but we are deceiving ourselves. We compare ourselves among ourselves and we know from Scripture that it is not a wise thing to do.
Where is your heart? With God or with the world?
Php 3:18 For I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of the Messiah.
Php 3:19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. Their minds are set on worldly things.
Php 3:20 Our citizenship, however, is in heaven, and it is from there that we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus, the Messiah.
We are alive to God:
Those that are born again are dead to sin, because its dominion is broken over our lives.
Where Christ now dwells is where our final home is to be, where our great interests are.
Since we are raised from the death of sin, and are made to live anew, the great object of our contemplation should be the heavenly world.
Heb 12:1 Therefore, having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles us, let us keep running with endurance the race set before us,
Heb 12:2 fixing our attention on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith, who, in view of the joy set before him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
To fix your eye on Jesus implies that you:
Stare at him and be captivated by who He is. It means that you are looking away from everything else and towards God. It also implies that you discern clearly what is the most important thing in life and you give yourself to that, to God. To set your eyes on God means that you perceive God in every circumstance.
"Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Y’shua, the Apostle and High Priest whom we confess."
Jesus kept His eyes on Heaven (on His Father):
Jesus constantly kept His eyes on heavenly things.
Jesus said, "I do only what I see the Father doing".
John 5:19 (NIV)
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Your heart is with your treasure:
Jesus said, where your treasure is, there you heart will be.
Jesus must be our ultimate treasure.
If we live according to the flesh we will always be lacking of God's peace in our lives.
Romans 8:5-9 (ISV)
Rom 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 To focus our minds on the human nature leads to death, but to focus our minds on the Spirit leads to life and peace.
Rom 8:7 That is why the mind that focuses on human nature is hostile toward God. It refuses to submit to the authority of God's Law because it is powerless to do so.
Rom 8:8 Indeed, those who are under the control of human nature cannot please God.
Rom 8:9 You, however, are not under the control of the human nature but under the control of the Spirit, since God's Spirit lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of the Messiah, he does not belong to him.
Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:
Rom 8:7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:
Rom 8:8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Summing up your life:
If you were to sum up what your life is all about in one word, what would that word be?
For the apostle Paul, that word was Christ.
Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
The only way to live a balanced life is to keep your eyes fully on Jesus.
Don't allow your heart to be tied up to that which is temporary and will one day cease to exist.
Only when we keep our eyes on Christ, can we see everything else in the right perspective.
Your future life:
By keeping your eyes on heavenly things, you are keeping your eyes on your future life.
Remember, Jesus is your future life.
However real this world feels, what lasts is only in heaven.
The more you meditate on your future life the more you will be able to endure the trials of this life.
Set your affections on things above
Our ultimate citizenship is in heaven.
We need to live what we are.
How can I continue to keep my eyes on things above?
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus your attention on the LORD. Live a dependent lifestyle. dependent on Him.
2. Challenge yourself daily to focus on heavenly things. You need to manage your heart. Direct your heart and will by exercising faith in God's promises.
3. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways. Proverbs 3:6 says, "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. " Choose for God in daily circumstances
4. Spend time with God. Read the Bible, pray, worship and meditate (think about and ponder) on Scripture. Keeping your eyes on Jesus helps you to grow in holiness. You cannot overcome sin through disciplines and boundaries. Sin cannot be conquered in the natural man. Sin is dealt with through the power of the blood of Jesus.
5. Surround yourself with people who loves God. This does not mean that we do not fellowship and reach out to the unsaved, but that our inner circle of friends are seeking after the LORD.