Monday, June 29, 2020
. . . looking to Jesus . . . Hebrews 12:2 ESV
It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from ourselves and onto Jesus, but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this—he is constantly trying to make us think of ourselves instead of Christ. Satan whispers to us, “Your sins are too big to be forgiven. You lack faith. You do not repent enough. You will never be able to continue to the end. You don’t have the joy of God’s children. You have such a weak hold on Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking inside us. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self. He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all that matters” (Colossians 3:11 NLT). Remember: it is not your hold on Christ that saves you, it is Christ. It is not your joy in Christ that saves you, it is Christ. It is not even faith in Christ that saves you, though that is the instrument—Christ’s blood and merit saves you. So don’t look to the hand that you grasp Christ with—look to Christ. Don’t look to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope. Don’t look to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. We will never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our works, or our feelings—it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would ever overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by looking to Jesus. Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession be fresh on your mind. When you wake in the morning, look to Him; when you lie down at night, look to Him. Oh, don’t let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus! Pursue Him eagerly, and He will never fail you. My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. “My Hope Is Built,” Edward Mote (1834) - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
A great deal of my life has been spent on introspection, looking inward, some call it self-examination. Unfortunately there's been a great many times when God's enemy knew and came along for the ride. It has cost me probably years of sleep if somehow the lost time were to be added up.
I sometimes consider my way of thinking and remembering a weird paradox. What thoughts God had granted to me in my life if I could but remember them later on in life. Most of my life I don't remember. A blessing and a curse it seems.
But in many of the darkest times, God's enemies seem to always show up. There to poke and stab at my thoughts, eager to instigate fear or doubt. Trying to trip and cause me to stumble in life. Ever ready to cry out concerning me that I am a fraud, that Christ doesn't love me, that I need to give it up. That this failure just did me in. That those thoughts were certainly not God honoring, who did I think I was?
Doubts are intended to slow things down. They can be good or bad. They, like other states of mind, can be abused by our sin nature.
When Peter looked at his life situation and took them off Jesus, he sank. Simple illustration. When he unequivocally had Jesus's hand and his eye on Him he stood back on the water. You don't think that in those seconds of sinking that Satan was right there trying to stir up doubts in his mind?
I struggle with them this morning. I woke up in the middle of the night last night. Thoughts of a few days ago. Barrage after barrage seeking some foothold to instill doubts. Went on for some time until part of a hymn started playing in my mind, when I focused on it, out I went back to sleep.
Satan isn't going to wait till you are wide awake and energized in order to try to come after you. In my weakest moment is when he starts. I struggle with negative thoughts at the oddest of times. Interestingly enough when I seek quiet and solitude there they are. If I don't intentionally start praying they stick around. If I don't start doing something for to alter my thinking towards Christ I can easily get knocked down.
What to do or where to go when my thoughts go where they should not, in that moment of time, isn't easy to answer. It's a struggle. I have concluded that in the day either God calls me home or the Rapture will I find rest.
The unexpected is what brings shock to a system more than the incident itself. I sometimes think that Peter's struggle with denying Christ was more in what he said than what he did. We are our own worst enemy. I used to judge myself after knowingly sinning. I would beat myself up even after asking Jesus to forgive me. Even after getting forgiven by Him, I would languish in misery and be mad at me for what I did. I had useless pent up anger at me!
Look at what you are looking at today. Is it really all about you, what's happening in the world and what it means in relationship to you or are you looking towards things above and not down here?
Do you look at your failures more than what God's doing or has done in you? Regardless of what you perceive, in Christ, He IS making progress in making you more Christ-like. Remember that. Satan wants us to think that we haven't changed. Jesus says we are His workmanship. He IS changing us. He is the Master. The perfect perfectionist in creating a masterpiece in you. We only see dimly what we will be like.
Pay attention to what draws your attention. It's important. Where your mind goes. What you dwell on. Is it only about what you haven't done right? Or do you think about what Jesus said to think about?
My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.