Click here to read the previous posts in this series.
According to Hebrews 12:2, another part of God’s prescription for endurance is looking to Jesus. Why is this important? What does it actually mean? And why does it help us to endure?
A familiar and much-loved hymn gives us a glimpse:
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
Who He Is
When we are looking to Jesus – being reminded of who He is, of His glory and power and grace – then we are not looking at our circumstances. Do not mistake this for ignoring reality. To truly see Jesus is to recognize who He is in your current circumstances. For example, to focus on Jesus’ power is to remind ourselves that His power is greater than the power of the enemy or the power of our government or the power of anyone or anything else on earth. (1 John 4:4) We’re more likely to endure when we know we’re on the right team!
Our pastor often reminds us that “We don’t fight for victory; we fight from victory.” Colossians 2:15 reminds us that Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame” and that He “triumphed over them“. Jesus has won the victory.
Later in Colossians 3:1-4 we are taught a little more about what life looks like when we’re focused on Jesus and living a life from victory: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Keeping our eyes on Jesus involves having an “eternal mindset”. This gives us the right perspective in our present situation. When we live “in light of eternity”, remembering what this life is all about – who this life is all about – and when we remember what it is that we are ultimately anticipating, we sometimes realize that what we’re concerned about isn’t as big of a deal as we thought it was. That’s not always the case, but sometimes it is. And even when it’s not, it still helps us to have the proper perspective – to remember our place in the grand scheme of things. To remember that there’s a much bigger picture here, a far greater purpose and plan at work than our own.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 describes this perfectly. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient [temporal], but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
How Great Is Our God
We sometimes need to be reminded of how big God is. We need to remind ourselves that we don’t have to know all the answers. We don’t need to be strong enough or smart enough or capable enough to fix everything. We need to be reminded of who our Heavenly Father really is and why we can trust Him.
In Isaiah 55:8-9, God reminds us of His sovereign omniscience.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are my ways higher than your ways
And my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Looking to Jesus humbles us (which is a good thing) and puts us in a position of willingness to trust Him and follow Him, to submit to Him. Looking to Him and focusing on who He is enables us to step into His yoke and ultimately to rest.
His Strength Is Perfect
Isaiah 40:28-31 is such an incredible encouragement to those who are exhausted and weary of the struggle.
“The Lord is the everlasting God,
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
And to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
And young men shall fall exhausted;
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles;
They shall run and not be weary;
They shall walk and not faint.”
Look to Jesus. Don’t become so absorbed in your own weariness and circumstances that you forget who He is, what He’s done, what He can and will do. When you feel too weary and weak to even think about Him, too mentally and emotionally exhausted to even know how to pray, that’s when you realize what a blessing it is to have His Word – whether physically in front of you as the Bible in your lap, or just the gift of having memorized even one treasure of Scripture.
Live It Out
- Pick a verse or passage of Scripture that you want to focus on to renew your mind and keep you focused on Jesus. Memorize it. (There are so many promises of God in His Word. These might be a good place to start.)
- What are some ways Jesus has revealed Himself to you – either recently or a long time ago? Spend some time remembering His work in your life and actually thanking Him for it.
- Meditate on the names of God to remind yourself of who He is. (“Names of God” blog series coming soon.)
- Spend some time in worship. Put on some worship music and set aside the heaviness of your life and just focus on giving the Lord the praise that’s due Him. We were created for worship and there is something amazing that happens in our hearts when we give ourselves to that discipline.
- This post from Kayse is a wonderful read that perfectly demonstrates this Truth. Take the time to look it over.