How easy is it for you to read? I confess that when I was younger, reading long stories and books were difficult for me. I didn’t have any problem visually, it was more of an issue of being easily distracted. I could focus for a little while on things that caught my attention like comic books or a good Hardy Boys mystery.
As my attention span increased, I learned to enjoy reading more, especially after college when I was free to read what interested me the most. One day, I began to realize I had headaches and eye strain after reading just a few pages. It was time to get my first eye exam as an adult. Sure enough, I needed glasses for reading. With my vision corrected, I could once again relax and enjoy reading.
Just as there are eyes for our physical body, there are also eyes for our soul. When we grow in spiritual maturity, we learn to have a greater appreciation for what we can see. If our natural vision needs correction at times, it makes sense that our spiritual vision also needs correction. The improved vision of the soul requires us to change our point of focus, to fix our eyes on something greater.
What are we focusing on when we have fear and anxiety? Fear increases when we focus on the immediate threats before us. So we look for a solution. Our anxiety becomes worse when we realize the weak solutions we have been trusting in are inadequate.
King David was often under attack. When he was threatened and attacked by evildoers, he focused his vision here:
“my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge”Psalm 141:8
Where is our focus in troubled times? Most of our thoughts and awareness are focused down here. It is a horizontal view of life. Technology, machines, weather, people, health, money, jobs all fail us at times. Is there anything we can count on that will be consistent?
A man named Paul served God faithfully through many troubles. He wrote about his focus. It was his secret to overcoming trouble.
“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Where are we focusing when we feel like quitting? When we are ready to give up on an education, relationship, career, faith, life itself, all we can see is the immediate struggle. Very few people quit something right at the start or at the finish line. Quitting happens in the middle when the race seems to be long and hard.
If you feel like dropping out of your race, consider these words from the book of Hebrews. It reminds us to focus on the finish line.
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”hebrews 12:1-2
When our spiritual eyes are fixed on Jesus, we learn to see through the filter of eternity. As we see the eternal world more clearly, we may actually see this world, with all it has to offer and all of the threats it presents, more dimly. As the words to the song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” says:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim…”