Survival Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!
Part 4 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm
By: Elizabeth L. Creecy
Focus on giants – you stumble.
Focus on God – Giants tumble.
We are continuing forward with this series, 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm. Here is a quick recap:
Secret #1 is the promise that the Father will come and rescue you. He wants you to be with Him more than you do! Thank the Lord for the Father’s love and zeal towards us.
Secret #2 is God will never abandon you nor forsake you! He is always with you, even when you feel He’s not.
Secret #3 is God will never give you more than you can handle.
Today we are talking about Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!
I find this to be the best secret of them all! By leveraging this secret in every area of your life, you will QUICKLY begin noticing the victorious changes that will happen in your life from doing so. Unfortunately, it seems most people forget the power of Keeping Your Eyes FOCUSED on Jesus!
Do you know what most people do instead? They keep their eyes focused on the storm, tribulation, suffering, or the giant in the situation. Essentially, they are focused on what they can see. They allow their carnal mind to take charge, causing them to go by sight, not faith. However, Paul clarifies we are to go by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). As the only way to please God is with faith (Heb 11:6).
When you focus on the problem of a matter, you stumble and turn away from God. Even if you do not realize it, what you are saying to God is that you would rather depend on your own resources than trusting Him. It’s just like what Max Lucado says – “Focus on giants – you stumble. Focus on God – giants tumble!” Survival secret #4 teaches you how to rise over your obstacles! The only way for you to rise in a storm is by focusing and believing in God’s promises, not your circumstances.
Jesus tells His disciples in John 16:33:
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (NLT).
It seems people forget the last sentence in this verse. I cannot begin to tell you how many pastors I have heard use this verse in discussing resilience and the truth that hardship will come to you, but they always leave out that last part. The most important part of the verse is where Jesus’ promise and peace come into play.
Yes, on earth, you will have trials and sorrow, but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.
Jesus tells us to take courage in Him because He has overcome the world. Do you see the victory in this truth? If Jesus is part of the Godhead and the Holy Spirit is the greatest power to exist, do you see how victorious you are when you choose to remain in Him (John 15:4)?
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me (John15:4 NLT).
What Jesus is telling you in John 15:4 is that you are to make constant, moment-by-moment decisions to follow Jesus. You cannot be passive about this. You must be proactive! That is why the Word reminds you so many times to keep your eyes focused on Him!
You must remember, when the devil is trying to bring you down – he has already lost because Jesus has already overcome the world. It’s done. Jesus overcame the world by rising from the grave. Rest on that truth instead of getting caught up in the lies the devil is trying to sell you, typically through fear.
Here are five ways you can abide in Jesus:
- Believe Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 4:15)
- Receive Him as your Lord & Savior (John 1:2)
- Do what God says (1 John 3:24)
- Continue believing in the Gospel (1 John 2:24)
- Relate in love to the community of believers, Christ’s body (John 15:12)
John 16:33 contains a powerful promise that is also offered to you! Jesus promised the disciples peace through their union with Him. The world, Satan’s system, is the opposite of God’s. Satan will give believers terrible trouble and opposition. But that’s just a fact of life. The truth is that Jesus has beaten Satan’s system, won the victory, and overcome the world.
With Jesus, you are never alone. Not only is there a body of Christ to rejoice and mourn with you (Rom. 12:14), but Jesus is also always with you as we learned in Survival Secret #2. Despite the inevitable struggles you may face, you are not alone! If the Father did not leave Jesus alone, He’s not going to leave you either! The question is, what are you going to put you focus on? What are you choosing to believe?
Jesus Christ does not abandon His disciples to their own struggles! You have to remember the ultimate VICTORY has already been won. You can claim the peace of Christ in the most troublesome times. Jesus wants you to have peace! He gave you peace, but not as the world gives it.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid (John 14:27 NLT).
Stop focusing on the problem and focus on Jesus. You have to believe that Jesus will show up for you because He will. You have to begin saying to yourself, Well, I cannot wait to see how Jesus turns this on the devil’s head. Sometimes the chaos of a situation is the exact strategy of how God will work it out. Do you remember how Peter tried to stop the high priest’s servant, Malchus, from taking Jesus in John 18:10-11? Peter didn’t recognize God’s plan, nor did he stop and pray to ask what the plan was! Peter just reacted in the midst of confusion and pressure and was actually going against what God wanted and needed to happen. Imagine if Jesus did not go to the cross!
Never does Jesus promise the absence of trouble. Instead, Jesus supplies strength and comfort for every burden you are called to carry. Jesus offers peace. It is the peace He modeled every day. Jesus’ peace did not flee conflict, pain, or death. Perhaps you have noticed that the more intense Jesus’ difficulties were, the more apparent His peace became. How did He derive this peace? Through an intimate relationship with God, the Father! Jesus allowed the peace of God to move into His heart and life to restrain the hostile forces (sin, fear, and doubt) and offer comfort in place of conflict. Jesus will give you that same peace if you are willing to accept it from Him! Are you ready to accept the peace Jesus offers?
As mentioned above, many people assume the word peace means the absence of conflict. Jesus promises His peace will become apparent in the very middle of trouble and conflict, but you have to keep your focus on Him. The devil is like a magician. He wants you to focus over there so over here he can do his trick.
Trouble can help remind you to ask for Jesus’ peace! Sometimes the Father will immediately stop the storm when you ask. But, more times than not, God’s answer will not usually mean the problem stops, but He does promise that Jesus’ peace will see you through that difficult time.
In closing, are you relying on Jesus’ peace in the face of trials? Or are you focusing on the circumstances?
Prayer: Father God, help me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus instead of the problem. Help me surrender my cares to You so I can keep my heart free from trouble. Father, help me to rest on Jesus’ peace and Your love for me. I ask You to help me grow in the peace and rest that Jesus offers me. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Son to die for me. I am choosing today to receive the promises and gifts You have given me. I ask You to help me keep my eyes on You and not on what I can see. Father, help me to use my faith to change what tomorrow brings. Thank you for growing me in Your faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.