Eyes for Eternity: Stefanie McGowan

By Stefanie McGowan

Spring is coming!
It’s a powerful thing to know that winter eventually fades, isn’t it?
To know that cold, hard times don’t last forever?
Seasons are seasons for a reason.
Designed to build upon each other, using what’s sown in one, to grow in another.
A new season enters, and brings growth, a fresh start, and often a fresh perspective. 

We get this same new start each morning.
A new season every day, a fresh start with the Lord, to choose more of Him and less of us[1].  It’s a perspective that’s hard to remember when we’ve caved to sin and feel like failures.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)

His mercies are new every morning. How can that be?
Grace covers us when we don’t deserve it and when we cannot earn it;
unmerited favor with an infinite God, who longs to draw our tender hearts close.
That’s the nature of our God! He is good. Always.

What about when our hearts aren’t tender to those promises?
When we choose the world over Jesus? When we don’t put Him first?
When our thoughts get consumed by the cares of the world?
And our hearts are deceived by riches that never satisfy?
What happens when those wants, desires, fears, and sins crowd out the room we intended for the Lord?

When the world distracts us, and keeps us busy, it chokes out what was meant to be fruitful.
We find ourselves in weak places, seasons of fighting sin that easily entangles[2].  We’re left in a drought. And Jesus warns about a heart like this in Matthew 13:22.
“Busy” and “distracted” are a trap. They keep us distant from an intimate God. 

Are there thorns choking out the Word in your life?
Are you distant? Distracted from the One who created you?
Whether you’re in a season of drought or harvest; a time of pruning or cultivating good soil… there is purpose in each season to grow our faith.
Are your eyes on the Grower, the Author and Finisher of your faith[3]

The enemy knows the distractions that lure our hearts and choke our faith.
Elisha and his young servant were surrounded by an enemy army in 2 Kings 6.
Horses and chariots clamored as soldiers in large numbers closed in, seeking to consume what belonged to the Lord.

“What do we do?” His servant panicked.

“When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city.
And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15)

Without hesitation, Elisha’s response under pressure was perfect peace. He knew what his servant couldn’t see. God’s power was all around them!

He said, “Do not be afraid,
for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)

We have the God of heaven’s armies on our side, Elisha reminded him.
He knew the truth. There is far more on our side than on theirs.
Elisha knew they weren’t helpless prey to a prowling enemy.
He knew this attack was no surprise to the Lord, and what was meant for evil, God meant for their good[4].
Elisha immediately turned to the Lord.

“Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.”
So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings‬ 6:17‬)‬‬

God opened his servant’s eyes to see the weight of His glory as heaven’s armies surrounded them! He turned his eyes to “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Oh that our eyes would have an eternal perspective like that!
That we would always know that our God is bigger.
That the King and Creator, who calls us his own, is in our midst,
and is a mighty warrior who will save; that he rejoices over us with gladness;
and quiets us by his love; that he will exult over you with loud singing[5].
Because we are his!
He never leaves you[6].
He goes before you[7].
He petitions on your behalf[8].
He fights for you[9].
His love is ferocious, an all-consuming fire[10].

So how could our focus ever shift from such an awesome God?
Why are our thoughts so easily consumed by the cares of the world, or lies that lure our hearts? Those things only bear bad news.
But we bear the image of Christ, made in his likeness[11],
we bear the Good News of the gospel that we’ve been set free!
It’s our lens, our scope to see a world that’s not our home.
It’s how we’re more than conquerors in Christ Jesus[12].

So why do we place our focus on the things that lure us back into sin?
Until the day when The Lord makes all things new[13], when a new Heaven and new earth are created, sin remains and our need for Jesus each day reigns true.
He sees as we’re tempted, tested, tried.
He knows our weakness, and His power is made perfect in it[14].
Still His mercy remains.
So what does The Lord require of us:
“But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)

We need the One who opens our eyes and point us back to the goodness of the Father.
We need a Savior, an Advocate who intervenes and stands in our place.
This is Jesus.
This is the power of the Holy Spirit,
And why mercy triumphs over judgement[15].
Jesus is the “mercy seat” – the propitiation for our sins[16].
He’s where we find rest, and gain new life, where we grow and bear fruit as we abide in Him.
For apart from Him we can do nothing.

So we hold fast to the Good News, and we run with endurance, the race marked out for us,
as we grow in the knowledge of Christ[17].
We look up, and fix our eyes on the One who fights for us,
knowing we’re no longer slaves to sin, but heirs of a living God[18]. 

We look up, we repent, we ask for help and we fix our eyes on The One who fights for us, knowing we’re no longer slaves to sin, but heirs in glory with a living God. (Galatians 4:7)

Dear Jesus, would you give us eyes to see things like you see things?
Please help when we’re tempted to believe the lies of this world over the truth of who you are. Help us in our unbelief, and in our suffering. That we would grow to be more like you.
Lord, we love you like crazy. Bless us as we seek your face. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
 

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