As a driving instructor, one of the first things I teach my pupils is: “where you look is where you go”. It’s amazing how true this is. For example, if my pupil looks in the rear view mirror too long, maybe worried about the car following too closely behind, guess where the car begins to head? Straight for the kerb!
Likewise, in the christian life this is so true. If you spend the majority of your time looking at your problems, guess what will happen! You’ll start to worry, fret and struggle! No, look to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith. Fix your eyes on him. That’s how faith and grace work. It’s a fact, that in God’s Kingdom there is no lack. In fact, God has supplied everything you need ahead of time (even before you were born) – in Christ.
Phil 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
How do you receive from God?
So, how do you receive God’s abundant supply or grace in Christ? You access it through faith and that is the only way. Faith however, is not something we generate. In fact, faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8):
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
Faith comes as we fix our eyes on Jesus. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith:
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Faith also comes by hearing, as we pay attention to God’s word (Romans 10:17) :
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Peter walking on water
It’s a bit like a wi-fi connection: when we are connected to him, looking to him, listening to him, then his life flows towards us, his faith empowers us. When the connection is broken however, faith stops flowing and the supply dries up! A good example of this is Peter walking on water. Peter wasn’t certain it was Jesus but he knew that only Jesus had the power to enable him to walk on water, so if it wasn’t Jesus, the moment he stepped out of the boat onto the surface of the water he would sink rapidly to the bottom of the lake!
Therefore, by faith Peter started well. Boldly, he steps out of the boat, becoming the second man only in history to achieve this never to be repeated and amazing feat: walking on water. However, when he started to look away from Jesus, distracted by the wind and waves, he then began to sink – where you look is where you go! (How do you begin to sink!)
Peter’s mistake, was to look away from Jesus and look at the size of the waves and the ferocity of the wind. He started to think about the impossibility of what he was doing. Consequently, he moved from faith into fear because he became self-conscious rather than Jesus conscious. The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear. Therefore, if you are looking at the perfect love of Jesus it is impossible for fear to grip your heart. You cannot sink looking at Jesus!
In fact, his fear was pretty irrational really: when he started walking he left a sinking boat in the middle of a storm! Was it really any more impossible for Peter to walk on the water in a storm than walking on water on a lake calm as a millpond? No, of course not. The only reason he could walk on water was because of Jesus.
How to receive by faith – the women with a flux of blood
Another example of how faith works, is the women with the flux of blood. (Luke 8) How does she receive her miracle? Basically, she is determined to get to Jesus, nothing is going to stop her. Literally, she crawls on her hands and knees behind him, pressing through the milling crowd – ignoring the fact that she is unclean and breaking the law. Eventually she reaches Jesus and stretching out her hand grabs hold of the hem of his robe. Instantly, the flow of blood in her body dries up and the healing power of Jesus flows out and into her!
For a re-telling of this story see my article the woman with a flux of blood
This is the kind of faith that God loves: a faith that reaches out to take what God’s grace has to freely offer.
Phil 3:14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”
Can we miss the promises of God?
Is it possible therefore to miss the promises of God? Yes, certainly, as the writer of Hebrews warns us. It is possible to miss God’s blessing and salvation through unbelief.
Hebrews 3:19 “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
In fact, God’s grace is towards every man, women and child on the planet. He wishes all to be saved. However, not all have faith. Not all receive.
The Bible warns us of this, through the example of the children of Israel wandering in the desert for 40 years and never entering the promised land. How did they miss it? Was it because of their lack of skill or knowledge? Their sin? Well sin was a factor because it did harden their hearts but no, they missed the promise because of their unbelief. Instead of trusting in God’s miraculous supply, they looked back over their shoulder complaining bitterly – nostalgic for Egypt. Of course, they had completely forgotten the slavery and whips and working a 60 hr week without pay!
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Another sad case, is the story of Lot’s wife. She disobeys God’s sensible command to not look back at the burning remains of Sodom and Gomorrah and instantly becomes a pillar of salt.
On the other hand, Abraham is an example of a man full of faith and like Peter he leaves everything that is certain and secure, to go into a far country obeying and trusting God to show him a new one.
Genesis 12:1 “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:”
As believers and children of Abraham therefore, we are called to walk in his steps.
Romans 4:12 “And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.”
Like Abraham, we are not justified by our works or even how sorry we feel about our sins but by faith alone. Like the children of Israel in the desert bitten by fiery serpents, the solution is not to look at ourselves or even elsewhere but to the saviour on the cross. No good works or religious performance counts for anything. Jesus is the only way of salvation.
Numbers 21:1 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Fix your eyes on Jesus
Therefore, where we look is where we will go and as believer we are called to be heavenly minded. As Stephen was stoned to death, he describes what he saw: Jesus standing at the right of the majesty on high. He definitely went where he was looking and the religious leaders of the day hated him for it!
Col 3:1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
The number one strategy of the devil then, is to get us to look at ourselves, our failure and sinful flesh. He knows of course, that a believer who instead is absorbed with Jesus has the power to change and will become like him. A believer absorbed with the flesh and self will become self-reliant and self-righteous! The disciples spent so much time around Jesus that they became like him:
Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
The Holy Spirit’s strategy therefore, is to get us to fall in love with Jesus to get our eyes off ourselves and abilities. That is how we change. Not by battling the flesh in our own strength but beholding Jesus:
2 Cor 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
So, lets get our spiritual eyes fixed on Jesus. Let’s stop looking back at the past and digging up the old man. The cross terminated your old self. Move forward by faith and live the brand new life that Jesus has paid for.
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