Fix Your Eyes On Jesus
There are times in all of our lives when we face difficult circumstances. We may be facing sickness, death; fear; shame; the need for provision; the accusations of others; or even our own weakness or inability to help ourselves. Regardless of our circumstances and whatever our need, God tells us we are to fix our eyes on Jesus.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.(Hebrews 12:2)
In 1 Samuel Chapter 17 we see the Philistine army encamped at Judah, opposing King Saul and the Israelite army. A champion named Goliath came out of the Philistine camp and challenged the Israelite army.
“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armour of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, ‘Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.’ Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.’ On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified”.(1 Samuel 17:4–11)
This Goliath was a giant of a man. He was over nine feet tall. His armour and his spear shaft were heavy and huge. When circumstances in life stand opposed to us, the enormity of what we face at times may seem just as large as Goliath did to the Israelites. Goliath said to them: “this day I defy the ranks of Israel.” To defy (‘charaph’ in Hebrew) means to reproach, taunt, blaspheme, defy, jeopardise, rail or upbraid (Strong’s). Satan will always try to defy the people of God, in an attempt to get them to take their eyes off Jesus. And just like Goliath, our enemy taunts – “you will never get out of this!” When we believe that lie – just like Saul and the Israelites did – it leaves us feeling vulnerable and afraid. It is tempting, then, to look to our own resources. Yet God tells us “be still.”
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”.(Psalm 46:10)
Jesus’ Authority Calms the Storm
In the times of storm, when our faith is tested, God always knows what we don’t know. He knows His purposes for us and He knows His plans. All He asks of us is that we look to Him.
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity”.(Jeremiah 29:11–14)
Jesus’ authority reigns over all circumstances. everything is subject to Him – even the storms we face.
“Then He (Jesus) got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, ’Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”.(Matthew 8:23–27)
When we truly understand and believe this, despite our circumstances, we will know His supernatural peace. God wants our faith to grow, especially in the midst of our difficulties – so we can know that peace that passes human understanding.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.(Philippians 4:6 & 7)
You Have to Serve Somebody
When armies in a war send out their champions, the fate of the army is determined by the winning or losing of the champion they choose. And those who lose the fight, instead of being free, end up living in servitude.
The singer, Bob Dylan (not a Christian) once wrote these words in a song – “But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
We are either serving the plans of the devil, or we are serving the plans of the Lord.
Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:19–24).
In the Old Testament, when the Israelites had finally settled in the land promised to them by The Lord, Joshua reminded them of all God had done for them and all He had already brought them through. Then he challenged them by giving them this choice.
“Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving The Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”.(Joshua 24:15)
What we look to, or set our hearts on, determines who we serve.
When we look to wrong things instead of to the Lord, whatever those things may be; by default we end up serving the very things we choose. They become a stumbling block to us; like a noose around our necks.
There is no freedom except in serving the Lord.
Jesus is Our Champion
So when you look to a champion, be careful how you choose. Will the champion you choose pass the test? Does it have the power to defeat the challenges that you are facing? Goliath told the Israelites to choose a man to fight him. When we are facing difficult circumstances today, Jesus is that man! Jesus was God in human form. He came to earth and became our Champion, our Saviour, and has already defeated the enemy on our behalf. When Satan and the things of his kingdom come against us, the champion we must look to is Christ and the finished work of the cross. Only the truth of the finished work of the cross has authority over sin, over poverty, over fear, over shame, over sickness and over death. Any other champion we choose will lose!
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” .(Colossians 2:13–15)
God doesn’t look to the natural, or see as we see. He sees in the Spirit. If we look to ourselves and rely on our own resources, the enemy, like Goliath will seem nine feet tall. We will feel small, insignificant, powerless and vulnerable. When we see ourselves as vulnerable, and wrongly look to other things; they may have the appearance of strength in the face of the enemy, but they will slow us down or make us fall. Saul tried to give David his armour, his shield and his sword. But David used what he was experienced in, and what he knew would defeat the enemy.
“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armour on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. I cannot go in these’, he said to Saul, ‘because I am not used to them.’ So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine”.(1 Samuel 17:38–40)
“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine”.(1 Samuel 17:36 & 37)
Our Champion is Strong
The enemy may taunt and defy God’s people, but when we speak the name of Jesus Christ over our situation, and the truth of God’s Word; Satan has no choice but to yield to the authority of Jesus’ name.
“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the Name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied”.(1 Samuel 17:45)
“Therefore God exalted Him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.(Philippians 2:9–11)
“That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way”.(Ephesians 1:19–23)
When Christ the champion we look to is strong, it doesn’t matter how small or weak we are, or how big what we are facing is, when we use the name of Jesus Christ, we know He has already overcome on our behalf. As we are taught of God and believe the truth of His Word, and as we believe that our victory has already been won, we begin to put our faith into action, and walk and behave as those who have overcome. We begin to see those things that have stood against us placed under our feet and we begin to stand over them in the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ is glorified, as His Lordship, in faith, is activated over every area of our lives. Then we become an army, no longer walking in defeat and servitude, but running, shouting, spreading the news! “Satan has been defeated! Our victory has been won!”
“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face-down on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran”.(1 Samuel 17:48–51)