Turn Your Eyes :: By Holly Spate

When I look back on my childhood, one of the most special of memories was getting dressed up each Sunday and going to church as a family. It’s how I grew up. Even now, all these years later, a week is not complete if there’s not a visit to church. It’s a privilege and a blessing to come together in fellowship to worship, to pray, to listen to the sermon the pastor’s prepared. It’s a gift, really.

Looking back, I’m grateful for each drive to church, each lesson learned in Sunday school, each potluck, the gathering of believers. I remember the singing. It’s different from most churches today, as we would sing from a hymn book. I remember singing so many traditional hymns.

Like so many, it’s easy to just sing along without any real thought to the lyrics. Yet, isn’t it interesting how sometimes we can hear or sing a song over and over, and then one day something changes? The song touches us in a way it never had before. The song goes from something we’re just singing to finding a place of significance and meaning that reaches deep into our soul.

When I was young, the hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” was something I sang many times, but recently I’ve focused on the beautiful truth in the words:

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.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior

And life more abundant and free.

Through death into life everlasting

He passed and we follow Him there;

O’er us sin no more hath dominion

For more than conquerors we are.

His Word shall not fail you, He promised

Believe Him and all will be well

Then go to a world that is dying

His perfect salvation to tell!

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.

When I look around at the world we live in, I find the truth in this hymn to be more profound. I often wonder how often have I turned my eyes upon Jesus and let the world fade into the background? How often have I put Christ front and center and lived completely for Him? How often have I made it my goal to share Christ with as many people as possible? How many times have I let distractions pull me away from what matters most? How much precious time have I wasted? If I were to be 100% honest, I’d have to confess I’ve missed a lot of opportunities because I allowed the distractions and failed to sit quietly and just focus on the Savior.

Sadly, we all tend to get distracted. The world is masterful at diverting our attention, and we’re persuaded to follow along. The Bible talks clearly about this struggle:

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

Romans 12:1-2 and James 4:4 further remind us of our need to be in the world, but not of the world:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

Most people living today would probably agree that there’s so much distraction…so much noise. The world we live in is never silent. It’s constantly changing and vying for our undivided attention.

Without purposeful living it’s so easy to lose sight of what’s most important and focus on unnecessary things each day. So much time gets wasted… so many opportunities fade when we forget to turn our eyes upon Jesus and don’t allow Him to be front and center in our lives. The enemy wants us distracted to render us ineffective, but God calls us to take up our cross and follow Him. He is what gives meaning and purpose to our life and guides our mission. And, when all is said and done, a life lived for Him is what will last.

Are you turning your eyes upon Jesus? Are you seeking Him with your whole heart? Are you putting Him first? The focus of our lives should be to focus on Him. It should be all about Him. It’s not about status. It’s not about celebrity. It’s not about selfishness. It’s not about prosperity. It’s not about mediocrity. It’s not about complacency or indifference. It’s about the commandment to actively pursue and to love God with your whole heart. In turn, it’s about loving others and being instruments for the kingdom. It may feel like a tall order, but God promises if we commit, He’ll carry us.

It’s time to unplug from all the unnecessary and turn our eyes upon Jesus. It’s time to sit quietly and listen, learn, pray, seek. Our lives are His. Let your focus be on Him and everything He brings.

Philippians 4:8 speaks volumes:Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Everything good comes from above. And everything worthwhile rests in focusing on our Lord and Savior. All we have has been given by the very One who breathed life into this world. So, today and every day, make the life-changing decision to simply stop, focus and take time to…

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And let the things of earth grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.