Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Because He Lives: Do You Pass God's Vision Test?

   (Part of a series sharing my devotional thoughts from almost two decades ago. For the back story & links to other posts, see the first post in the series.)

Have you ever been completely, totally lost? I mean, you have absolutely no idea which direction you should take. I have. I remember one day driving with my husband and step-son where a hilarious sequence of events found us on back roads in the southern part of our county. As we finally came to a paved road, we had to determine which direction to take. I made a random guess -- which turned out to be wrong -- and realized I had been completely turned around. Somehow we made it back to the main highway and survived the experience with a funny story under our belts.
The answer in that situation wasn’t so apparent. But as I think about times in my life where I was spiritually directionless, I realize that God has made the answer very clear.
You see, all of us who are Christians occasionally have to take what comprises God’s vision test: Where am I looking? Hebrews 12:1-2 makes clear the correct answer: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (emphasis mine).
Whenever I have been directionless in life, without exception I eventually realize that I have failed God’s vision test -- my eyes were somewhere besides on Jesus. Maybe I was focusing on my problem; perhaps I was being self-centered; sometimes I was looking too much at what others would think or say or do or feel. In every case, I find that when I shift my eyes to Jesus, everything else comes into focus. And then I find that I am no longer directionless; I know which way to turn.
Psalm 23:3 says, “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” You see, when my eyes are focused on Him, I can see the paths of righteousness in which He is guiding me. I can then choose to follow those paths -- all the time keeping my eyes on Him -- with the full assurance that I am on the right path because He chose it, not me.
If you are confused right now and don’t know which way to turn ... if you feel directionless ... you don’t have to take a random chance of getting on the right road. Shift your eyes upward from wherever they are looking right now. See Jesus -- resurrected, victorious over sin and death and the grave, eternally bearing the scars for our sins, seated at God’s right hand -- and keep your eyes there. Worship Him. Ask Him to guide you in paths of righteousness. Let Him teach you through His Word. Take His wisdom for your problem. And discover the wonder of a life that suddenly comes into focus as your vision is clear and your eyes are rightly fixed on Him. God will guide you and show you where to go and what to do. Then, as Hebrews 12:1 says, you will be able to run with endurance the race that is set before you.
One final note: You never have to doubt what’s at the end of the road God has you on. James 5:11 makes God’s intended result clear: “Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” So take out the Bible (your road map), pass the vision test (by focusing on Jesus), and trust Him as you start down the path of righteousness in which He is leading you into His mercy and compassion.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.” Isa. 43:2

“Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing.”

Isa. 40:26

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