… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith… Hebrews 12:1
The cloud that shrouded the tower was slowly drifting away, and the view that unveiled before us was stunning. Melissa and I had spent most of the day on a long and demanding hike up the heights of the El Yunque rain forest. We were told that the view from the observation tower on top of the highest peak was stunning, but the cloud cover had disappointed us. Once it lifted, though, we stood for a long while gazing at the beauty and taking in the grandeur of God’s creation.
Beautiful things do that to us. They make us pause… gaze… praise. They affect us in positive ways. But gazing on other things can have a different effect on us. And what we look at – what we give our attention to – is so important.
We all find ourselves focussing, intermittently, on one of three things: Christ, other people, or ourselves. What we choose to look upon will make all the difference in how we view and deal with life on earth.
Gazing at myself is pride in one of two ways: either I think I am something when I am nothing or I think I am nothing when Christ has made me something (both are pride). When I focus only on my sin and failures, I become morbidly depressed and self-defeating and I rob the gospel of its power in my life. I also rob the Savior of his glory.
Being inordinately focussed on the opinions of other people (the fear of man) is a snare that entraps me and holds me fast in the chains of the fickle and unrighteous judgments of other sinners. This mindset is quicksand that constantly pulls me down. It effectively robs the gospel of it’s power in my life to make and keep me right before God, at least in my own estimation.
When I focus on Christ – when I see who he is (his greatness and his kind nature) and on what he has done (his work on the cross that bought me, justified me, sanctifies and keeps me) then man’s opinion of me and my opinion of myself lose their power and are put in their proper perspectives. Focussing on Christ is the only way to liberate my mind to think correctly about God, others and myself.
- Being constantly conscious of my sin makes sin my lord and ruler (Hebrews 10:1-4,14; Romans 6:11-14)
- Being constantly conscious of others’ opinions gives them control of me (Proverbs 29:25)
- Being constantly aware of Christ converts my mind, transforms me into his image and sets him in his rightful place as Lord of my life (Isaiah 26:3; John 8:31-32)