Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus: Fixing Your Focus

5 Mins read

From time to time, each of us run into a problem with our focus. While we know that our faith in Christ should always be our primary focus, but there are times where other things come along and cloud our vision. Today, we’re going to discuss how to fix your focus. When you have your focus in the right place and on the right things, the things that try to stand between you and God can begin to fade away.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
Then the things of this world will go strangely dim
In the light of His glory and His grace”
-Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Helen Howarth Lemmel: 1922

This classic hymn, which just had its 100th anniversary of use in worship services was based on a passage from Isaiah.

Isaiah 45:22 (NIV)
“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

When you simply look at the context of this classic hymn, it’s remarkable that 100 years ago, Christians were still fighting to maintain their focus on the things that really matter. We live in a world filled with distractions, and it’s often hard for us to maintain our focus on anything for very long. In addition to hundreds of TV channels, we also have more streaming services than we could possibly watch in a day. Additionally, we live most of our lives attached to a cellphone that puts the entire world at our fingertips. All those luxuries come in addition to the obligations that we have to navigate every day. We’re truly a distracted people.

Apparently life in the 1920s, while vastly different than the lives we live today, was also filled with distractions. That’s why Helen Howarth Lemmel was inspired to write the song that she wrote. Perhaps what’s even more remarkable is the fact that thousands of years before Lemmel would put pen to paper, the men and women who authored the Bible struggled with maintaining a Godly focus in their own lives.

You see, the problem with maintaining focus isn’t exactly a new problem. Quite the opposite is true. Dating back to the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve struggled with focus. Every day, God would come down and walk with them in the “cool of the day.” A relationship with Him was supposed to be their primary focus. He took care of everything else. Unfortunately, the world’s first two people were distracted by the temptation to know as much as God knew, and they ate of the forbidden fruit.

Losing focus is a problem as old as time itself. However, just because it’s a problem doesn’t mean that it’s not something that we can overcome. Today, learn more about how to fix your focus so you can keep your eyes upon Jesus.

Fixing Your Eyes on Jesus
Matthew 14:30-31 (NIV)
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Peter gets a bad name in this story because of what happened at the end. Before we rehash the end of the story, let’s revisit how we got the point where Peter was drowning and Jesus had to grab him out of the water. The disciples had been sent across the Sea of Galilee to the other side. Jesus stayed where they had departed from to pray. As they got about halfway across the sea, a storm came upon them. This wasn’t just a regular storm. It was a storm so scary that these men who had spent their adult lives fishing were afraid.

Fisherman in Biblical days were well-versed in dealing with choppy waters. Not only were they forced to use the starts for navigation, they also didn’t have the luxury of engines and other pieces of technology to help them get from Point A to Point B. When a storm came along, they had to know the right way to row the boat in order to make it from where they were to where they needed to be.

This storm was apparently different because these men were scared. In theory, they shouldn’t have been scared. You see, in the verses the precede the passage that we just read, Christ had performed one of His most notable miracles. The feeding of the 5,000 (which only accounted for men, not women and children) is the only miracle that is written about in all four Gospel accounts. The disciples had just seen Jesus take a little boy’s lunch and turn it into enough food to feed more than 5,000 people. Now that they were in the middle of a storm and they couldn’t physically see Jesus, they were scared.

What they didn’t account for was the fact that Jesus could still see them. His eyes were not blinded by the storm. His physical proximity to them did nothing to cloud the fact that He could get to where they were instantly.

Supernaturally, Jesus started walking towards their vessel in the middle of the storm. The waves that were washing over the side of their ship were under His feet. The winds that battered against their boat did nothing to deter the fact that Christ was on His way to them. As He got closer, they were even more afraid. History teaches us that in ancient fishing lore, if you saw a ghost during the nighttime hours, you weren’t going to live to see morning. These men truly believed that the storm they were in was going to kill them.

Suddenly, Jesus spoke:

Matthew 14:27 (NIV)
But Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Why did Jesus tell them to “take courage” and to “not be afraid?” Because they lacked courage and were filled with fear. Their problem wasn’t a fear issue. Instead, they had a focus issue. Christ stood in front of them, but they were still focused on the storm. Their faith seemed small because their focus was misaligned.

Now, we get to Peter. Out of all the disciples, Peter was the only one willing to make a move. He cried out and said, “Jesus, if that’s really You, tell me to get off this boat and let me walk on the water like you are.”

Christ called for Peter, and Peter went. Was Peter filled with faith? Perhaps. Was Peter driven by desperation? Maybe so. Either way, he was the only disciple with the courage to step out of the boat and into the storm, focusing on Jesus. As he took his first few steps on the waves, his eyes locked on the eyes of Christ, everything was going well.

Then, it happened. We’re not told exactly what caused Peter to shift his focus, but something happened. Maybe a crack of thunder startled him. Perhaps it was a flash of lightning that caused him to turn his head. Maybe a giant wave came up and slapped him across the face. No matter what it was, something caused Peter to lose his focus, and when he did, he began to sink.

Jesus didn’t get angry at Peter. He reached down and saved him from drowning. Yes, He corrected Peter, but He didn’t abandon Peter. Fortunately, He does the same for us when we lose focus and find ourselves sinking faster than we can swim.

“Why did you doubt?” The words must have hung heavy in the air for a moment. Peter had no good reason to doubt. He had seen Christ feed the crowd. He had seen Him walk on the water. Now, he had seen Jesus rescues him.

Why do we doubt? We have no good reason. We’ve seen God provide, we’ve seen Him heal, we’ve seen Him rescue us. Unfortunately, we lose focus. When those moments comes, a cry of, “Lord save me,” will suffice. He isn’t mad at you when you lose focus. But He’s ready to encourage you to maintain your focus and your faith the next time.

A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to keep my eyes firmly focus on You. I know that You can rescue me in the face of any storm. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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