1-2-3, eyes on me! Have you ever used that catchy little rhyme with young kiddos? Lately, I find myself thinking, 1-2-3, eyes on Jesus! Not quite as catchy, but oh, how I need that reminder! Eyes on Jesus. Eyes on Jesus. Eyes on Jesus.
Battling illness and discouragement, overwhelmed by the tasks I must accomplish. Eyes on Jesus. Shamed and belittled, overcome by memories and hurts from the past. Eyes on Jesus. Riddled with guilt, beating myself up for sins and mistakes from long ago. Eyes on Jesus. Seemingly hopeless and impossible future. Eyes on Jesus. Storms of life swamping my boat, and I am sinking! Eyes on Jesus! 🙂
God knows. Even in those times when He is silent, God knows. And He cares. When the world’s muck bogs me down, I turn, once again, to the word of God, wherein lies my hope.
Remember when Peter denied that he even knew Jesus, three times? Jesus told him that he would do so, but Peter refused to believe it.
“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’ But he said to Him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.’ Then He said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.’ ” ~ Luke 22:31-34
But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail. Jesus knew Satan would pound Peter with fear, lies, guilt, and defeat. When you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. Jesus also knew that Peter would make it through this trial, battered and in pain, but stronger in his faith and able to encourage the others because of it.
“But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are saying!’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” ~ Luke 22:60-62
That Peter, he really blew it, didn’t he? Oh…but don’t we all? Haven’t we denied Jesus in some way, shape, or form in our own lives? Doesn’t Satan desire to sift us all like wheat, causing us to stumble in our faith and fall? And then, when we do mess up, don’t we go away and weep bitterly, feeling like an utter failure?
Satan wants us to stay in that place: lamenting our weaknesses, dwelling on wrongs done by – and to – us. What a worthless, miserable place to be, stuck in a never-ending pity party of sorts, woe is me!
Jesus has bigger plans for us. He knows we will mess up. He knows when, where, how, and why. And He prays for us, that our faith should not fail. And then He directs our focus back onto Him and His plan for our lives. Once our focus is back on Jesus, we can then encourage others. Eyes on Jesus.
Not long after Jesus’ resurrection, several of the disciples went fishing. They labored all night without catching a single fish. A man appeared on the shore and instructed them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. When they humored the stranger and did as He suggested, the net was bursting with fish. And they realized that stranger was Jesus. Eyes on Jesus.
They breakfasted with Him, eating several of the large “one hundred and fifty-three” (John 21:11) fish they had caught (I love that John recorded the exact number of their catch!). And then Jesus and Peter had a chat.
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’ ” ~ John 21:15-17
Three times Peter had denied any knowledge of, or fellowship with, Jesus. Now three times Peter affirmed his love for Jesus. Jesus restored Peter by encouraging him, reminding him of their relationship and love for one another, and charging him with the enormous task of feeding and tending the flock. Eyes on Jesus.
Once Peter had confessed his sin, he was forgiven. And the sin was gone, forgotten.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” ~ Psalm 103:12
” ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.’ ” ~ Isaiah 43:25
But Peter needed a reminder (don’t we all?) to let the past go, so he could fully concentrate on the task ahead. Eyes on Jesus.
In the book of Philippians, Paul encouraged us to focus on Jesus, not on our troubles and failings.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:12-14
Eyes on Jesus!