The Season of Seeking: Keeping Our Eyes Fixed on Jesus!
Sometimes the greatest obstacle we face when pursuing the things of God is getting distracted due to looking in the wrong direction. We receive great revelations of what’s to come and with one wrong turn, we get distracted as if the promise God made was a lie. We may look in every direction when trouble arises before taking time to look to God. Walking with blind faith can be difficult because we are challenged to keep our eyes on God who happens to be a spirit. It’s easy to settle and believe in what we see in the natural, but if this Christian life was that easy, we would never see the manifestation of God’s power. Honestly, we probably wouldn’t even value having God in our lives. Paul said it best in Hebrews 12:1-2.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
In verse 2, Paul admonishes us to look towards Jesus while running this race called life. I’m well aware many individuals believe this task is easier said than done, but we must consider the consequences many have faced as a result of taking their eyes off of God. When praying about this topic, I was led to the story of Lot’s wife and Peter.
I’ll begin with the story of Lot’s wife. During this time, Lot and his family were living in a VERY polluted place called Sodom. There was so much sin taking place and many had cried out to God for Sodom and its neighboring city, Gomorrah, to be judged. Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham petitioned God to not destroy the whole city because he remembered his nephew Lot lived there. God told him that if he found 10 people who served him, he would not destroy the cities. Unfortunately, the saints must have been few because God sent angels to Sodom to tell Lot to get his family and leave before destruction comes.
15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.’ 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, ‘Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.’ 18 And Lot said to them, ‘Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!’ 21 He said to him, ‘Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.’ Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
As you can see, Lot remained focused on God and where he needed him to go, but his wife didn’t do so well. God’s instructions were to escape and not look back. Obedience shouldn’t be taken lightly because in this case, being obedient determined whether or not you lived or died. This passage made me think about all the times God created a way for me to escape a bad situation and I delayed my progress because I kept looking back. I often see this in relationships. I’ve been in toxic relationships and God has created a way for me to move on either by me leaving or that person leaving, but somehow or someway that person would pop up out the blue and what would I do… look back. Now, I didn’t turn into a pillar of salt, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I became weak. When God says release and move forward, we must be obedient because our well-being is at stake. We often don’t see the significance or effects of our obedience until later, but that’s why obedience is connected to faith which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) …emphasis on NOT SEEN. So, don’t look back!!
Another example of negative consequences we experience due to taking our eyes off God is demonstrated through Peter’s experiences. The story begins with the disciples being on a boat. As they were sailing, they see a man walking on water. The disciples were afraid thinking they were seeing a ghost, but Jesus tells them who he is and to not be afraid. Peter, believing all things are possible through Christ (Philippians 4:13), asks Jesus to verify his identify.
28 And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ 29 He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’
In this passage, we see Peter stepped out on faith and supernaturally walked on water. He was doing what we all dream of being able to do through the power of God, but he made one mistake… He took his eyes off Jesus. The scripture tells us that he allowed himself to get distracted by the heavy winds moving around him which caused him to doubt and become fearful. How can someone who boldly agreed to take a risk by walking on water become so full of doubt and fear? If only he kept his eyes on Christ nothing could have stopped him from making it to Jesus.
The same thing happens to us way too often. We tell the Lord to use us as he desires and when we realize how he uses us isn’t the most comfortable way to be used, we become fearful and get distracted. We start doubting the promise given to us simply because we allowed what we saw in the natural to override what God showed us in the spiritual realm. Now is not the time to take your eyes off Christ. If anything, it’s time to seek his face more. There will be an uprising of events that try to distract you or tempt you to look back, but we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ so that we may fulfill the tasks given to us. No matter how tough things get be obedient to God’s word and seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually (Psalm 105:4).