Years ago, when our four girls were young, we had intentional family nights every week. We tried to do fun activities that taught biblical truth. One night, we took a long narrow beam, raised it a few feet off the floor and had them try to walk across. We didn’t tell them the rest of us would be trying to distract them! Amidst much laughter, the task proved impossible. Then we had them try again, this time fixing their eyes on the parent at the other end. It amazed them how much easier it was.
In John 21:19-22, Jesus has an intense conversation with Peter. I picture Jesus leaning into Peter, looking directly in his eyes as he asks, “Do you love me?” Then, Jesus listens intently to Peter’s response and says, “Follow me!” What is the first thing Peter does? He turns away from Jesus! Is he scared? Does he want to take the spotlight off of himself? He turns and sees “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and asks, “Lord, what about him?” Seriously? That is his response after what just happened? I think Jesus’ next words are some of the best words for all of us; “What is that to you? You must follow me.” How many times am I focused on everyone around me as I compare myself with others?
Comparison is a dangerous territory. I had a counsellor say to me, “Well if you are going to compare yourself to others, I can’t help you.” We had worked through so much, and he saw me choosing to go back to day 1, letting myself be distracted by others instead of focusing on Jesus. Of all the words spoken by this wise man, I will never forget those.
In Psalm 69, David cries out to God, admitting sin in his life (vs.5) and repenting (vs.10&11). What makes his distress much deeper is those who mock, hate and seek to hurt him. How often are we like the enemies, looking around at what others are doing and making judgements? Not only do we hurt others, but we also miss where Jesus wants to lead us.
Even the passage in Samuel is an example of men getting distracted, untrue accusations made and devastating consequences.
What does fixing our eyes on Jesus look like? In light of these scriptures, that is the question to ask Jesus as you turn your eyes to him.
Wife to Pastor Brad, mother to four amazing daughters and treasured friend