Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

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Remembrance Day is a day as Canadians we stop and reflect on the incredible price that was paid for the freedom and peace we enjoy. May we never take for granted the wonderful land we are privileged to call home.

Yesterday I stood on the steps of our church and looked across the street to the nearly completed Trump tower where a group of protestors shouted “no justice, no peace”.

Yet across from them, at street level, stands the greatest symbol for justice and peace – a cross. Ultimately there is only one source for both justice and peace: the finished work of Jesus Christ at the cross.

I think we all understand why this group, and so many others, are angry and frustrated. The recent appointment of President Elect Donald Trump has surprised many, and following a messy political battle the landscape is filled with weary people on both sides of this polarizing campaign.In light of this, an old song came to mind this morning:

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!

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.

If we put our eyes on an individual, or a country to give us hope, we are going to be disappointed. Daniel is a great example of a man who faithfully prayed to his God daily despite the huge swings of political power he experienced in his life time. We too, in our life time will experience upheaval and shifts of power. To stay in a place of peace, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

If we put our eyes on an individual, or a country to give us hope, we are going to be disappointed.

The best way to keep your eyes on Jesus is to focus on His words. Jesus told us “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Governments, political parties, and even nations will pass away, but God’s word will remain. The seats of power will change, but the One who sits on the throne of heaven is unchanging.

The scriptures teach us to pray for our present leaders and give back to them what is due them. At one point Jesus said “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” It is good to remember that Caesar and the Roman Empire, like so many others has come and gone, but the church that Jesus is building is flourishes today around the world anchored in His unchanging word.

Our secular culture sends a message that going to God’s word would be a step backward for mankind. But actually, to go forward we need to go back. In the time of Jeremiah, the people had drifted far from their faith in God and it looked like so much of what made their nation great was dismantled. They were at a crossroads in their history: one path would lead to destruction, the other would lead to justice and peace. In Jeremiah 6:16 we read: “This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’” 

Jesus told us “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Governments, political parties, and even nations will pass away, but God’s word will remain.

What road do you want going forward? The first thing God asks us to do is to stop and reflect. There has been plenty of hype and media frenzy in the past months. From the pollsters, to the media, to the political parties, to Wall Street, to church leaders; everyone is stopping for a moment to reflect. What just happened? But now a choice has to be made at the crossroads. Which way will we go?

The second thing God asks us to do is to look around. Look at the vein of discontent running through the nations. From the Arab Spring, to Brexit, to a surprising outcome in the US election, there is a discontentment in the world that will not be satisfied by any ruling party. True contentment only comes when Jesus rules our heart. Look at the two paths to travel on, one secular path rejecting God and His word, the other is the “old godly way” trusting in His word.

Like in Jeremiah’s time, many today don’t know what the “old godly way” is. Perhaps our grandparents knew it, but many today don’t know what this way is. So thirdly, God tells the people to ask for the old ways. Just asking is a sign of humility and surrender. The timeless principles which are found in God’s word such as loving your neighbor as you love yourself, are what we need today to move forward. God will be faithful to reveal and refresh us in these ways, but we must ask. We need to ask Him as we open His word and look for guidance. To focus on the words in the Bible is to focus on Jesus. This is why John started his gospel with: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 

May God’s peace fill your heart as you move forward on the trusted godly path.