They used to say “you are what you eat.” (I don’t know who “they” are and I don’t know if “they” still proclaim that particular piece of advice?) But it seems to me that there is another piece of advice easily overlooked and maybe not fully embraced nor fully understood. It is this. Where I look determines where I end up. My feet follow where my eyes lead me. Who or what I look to for guidance and direction determines the course my life will take and subsequently, where I will end up. In Psalm 121:1-2, King David says,
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
David looked up, he looked to God for the help and direction he desired. He could have looked to himself or to other rulers or to men considered wise in his current culture, but he looked to the God he knew was sovereign, omnipotent and omniscient. In fact, he said in Psalm 119:15,
“I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways.” (ESV) another translation says, ” . . . and keep my eyes on Your ways.” (CJB)
We say in sports vernacular that it is imperative to “keep your eye on the ball.” In other words, we are to look at what matters most if we want to succeed at whatever it is we are doing. Keeping my eye on the prize is important because it affects the outcome. Peter found this out firsthand when he was walking on the water toward Jesus. He got distracted, took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink into the sea.
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ ” (Matthew 14:29-30)
Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and “saw the wind.” He then focused on his dangerous, difficult circumstance, instead of focusing on the One who had called him just moments before to come to Him.
“But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to You on the water.’ ‘Come,’ He (Jesus) said.” (Matthew 14:27-29)
Peter got distracted. He turned his gaze to look upon something other than the One who was making it possible for him to walk on the water in the first place. When Peter lost his focus, he lost his footing, he lost his ability to stay the course set before him. Fortunately for him, Jesus answered his plea for help. Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!” and
“Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him (Peter).” (Matthew 14:31)
I don’t know about you, dear readers, but my daily life is filled with distractions. Now not many of these distractions put me in any immediate danger (like say, texting while driving) but most of them do lead me to lesser places than what my Heavenly Father is calling me to and preparing for me. When I get distracted, I shift my gaze and I end up shifting my direction. Then I find myself somewhere other than where I was originally headed. I want to ask God, along with the psalmist,
“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:37)
No wonder the author of Hebrews tells me to “fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith,” (Hebrews 12:2)
If I don’t keep my eyes on my Savior, like Peter, I will began sinking in the sea of volatile, everchanging circumstances that surround me every day. I will be engulfed by the realities of this broken world in which we all live and destroyed by the personal hardships that come to each one of us precisely because we are human creatures, separated from our Creator at birth, and desperately trying to find our way back. To find that way home, I have to keep my eyes fixed on the One who came to lead me and to lead you, home. The way is narrow and I will not find it if I take my eyes off of Jesus.
Psalm 105:4 tells me,
“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” This I must do – so I can say along with the psalmist,
“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare.” (Psalm 25:15)
sincerely, Grace Day