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Keep Your Eye On The Prize

 

Leap-of-Faith-Ministries1Clarksville, TN – When your eyes are examined, the doctor holds a card in front of you and says, “Keep your eyes here, but tell me when you see my other hand.” Then he brings his hand from behind your head and pretty soon, out of the corner of your eye you see that hand.

That is the capacity God has given our physical eyes, and also our spiritual vision. We can be looking at Christ, and at the same time, out the corner of our eyes, there is something else trying to catch our attention.

It is up to us whether we focus our full attention on Christ, disregarding the disturbance on the side or shift our attention over to the other or do like most of us, hesitate somewhere in between, looking back and forth, and not being able to decide one way or the other.

If you are in the last category, you are what James described, “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways, let not that man suppose that we will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:8,7 NKJV).

No one is more miserable than a double minded or double hearted person. Sometimes you’re convinced you believe God, and the next day you don’t know for sure.

Peter who is probably one of Jesus most well-known disciples. The disciple Jesus said “… flesh and blood has not revealed this to you (that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the living God), but my Father who is in heaven” “…you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell won’t prevail against it.” “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven…” (Matthew 16:17-19 NKJV).

This same Peter when Jesus was walking on the water.” “When Peter got out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus he was fine until he saw the wind picking up and got scared. He then began to sink…” (Matthew 14:27-31)

To be double-minded or double hearted is a miserable condition of uncertainty, and sinful as well. God said of the Israelites, “… I was very angry with them, for their hearts were always looking somewhere else instead of up to Me…” (Hebrews 3:10) God promised the Israelites a beautiful land flowing with milk and honey, if they only kept looking to Him. But they ruined their chances and lost the Promised Land by looking elsewhere.

What causes double-mindedness? What do you see out of the corner of your eye that compels you to look away from Christ? One of our biggest attention getters is our physical body tells us about ourselves. We feel hungry, warm, cold, weak, strong, in pain, sleepy, full of lust and our mind is used to translating these feelings into “facts”.

We think we are what we feel, and that we must do what our feelings dictate. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit enters our body and there is a new voice in our life. The spirit speaks in our thoughts, we usually in direct disagreement with our feelings. Suddenly we have a battle going on inside of us.

This is where the double-mindedness starts. Every born again Christian starts his new life with a double mind. Our soul is a battle ground where Jesus has won the decisive victory, but each of us must “Fight the worthwhile battle of faith…” (I Timothy 6:12) till our attention is focused on God with a single mind and a united heart.

Many don’t realize their own double-mindedness. They assume every thought originates in their own head. Once we are alerted to our true condition, we can begin to sort out what we are thinking. We are powerless to stop the thoughts from popping into our heads, but God has given us the power to decide what to do with them once they are there.

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace…” “those who are in the flesh can’t please God.” “but you are not of the flesh, but of the spirit if Christ’s Spirit dwells in you..” “Therefore, brethren we are debtors not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you lie by the flesh you will die, but if by the spirit you will put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, those are sons of God.” (Romans 8:6,8,9,12,12,14 NKJV)

In sorting out our thoughts we should recognize that Satan always appeals to our old nature and stirs up our feelings, while the Holy Spirit tells us what God’s word says. We are then faced with the familiar situation from the doctor’s office. The Holy Spirit says “Look this way. Here is what God has to say. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.” Now Satan comes up from the rear and whispers, “God doesn’t care about your situation. You don’t feel His presence do you?”

The Holy Spirit tells us that in Christ we have His perfect peace. (John 14:27) But our circumstances are so miserable that we feel far from peaceful. What can we do about it? Our old nature will blame our circumstances for our lack of peace, but God’s Word tells us that “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand, His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7 Living)

The promise is that we will have perfect peace as our hearts and minds are focused on Jesus, not our circumstances. I believe David said it best, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from hence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121:1 NKJV)

Where is your attention focused? If it isn’t on Jesus then it’s on the thoughts stirred up in your mind by Satan. He will rob us and cheat us and take away all our peace and joy and faith if we let him, but only if we let him. Satan is whispering from the sidelines, reminding you to worry and telling you that no matter what you do, it will be wrong. He is a liar and the father of them. Nothing will be wrong as long as you decide to keep on looking at Jesus with a single eye and united heart.

Jesus came into this world to tell us that He would do for us the things we can’t do for ourselves. Maybe right now you feel so weakened by your disease, so depressed by your problem, so misused and misunderstood and abused by people that you feel you can’t do anything.

Created To Believe: The Power of Praise Through Practical Biblical TruthsGod knows how weak and low we are. He knows we can’t pick ourselves up. But He wants us to do the one thing He has given us the ability to do. Open our eyes and look at Him “…Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure, lovely, and admirable. Think about the things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 Living)

Think of Jesus. He is worthy of all praise. Let your mind dwell on who He is and what He has done for us, until the darkness around you gives way to light. Then you’ll soon be able to sing with David, “My heart is confident in You, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises! I will thank You, Lord, in front of all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations.” (Psalm 57:7, 9 Living)

Excerpt from Created To Believe: The Power of Praise Through Practical Biblical Truths written by Richard “Reason” Garrett
Copyright © 2011 Liberated Publishing Inc

 


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