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Through the Faded Reflection (Fix Your Eyes on Jesus)

Nothing speaks to my heart like a good object lesson—particularly when that object lesson comes to me out of the blue, almost as if God were downloading it straight from his heart into mine as I take in the world around me.

Let me give you an example from a recent experience. I was sitting alone at my kitchen table one evening. Ryan was out for the night and Avra was asleep in her room. I had decided to take advantage of the quiet moment to spend some time in prayer.

Now, I don’t know if you have a “spot” at your kitchen table, but I do. It is where I sit every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. More often than not, it is where I set my laptop up when I work from home. And on this particular occasion, it is where I was sitting as I began my quiet time with God.

On the wall directly across from my spot is a large window. And as I sat there speaking and listening to God, a quiet impression came over my heart that prompted me to get up out of my seat and wander over to this window. I sat down on a stool in front of it and did my best to tune in to that little voice inside saying, “Look out the window. What do you see?”

It was a dark, winter evening and I had bright lights on in the house, turning the window itself into more of an enormous mirror. Naturally, the very first thing I saw was my own reflection, and quite clearly at that. But I quickly noted that if I changed my gaze, I was able to see outside into the dark night.

The light from my window illuminated the nearest neighbor’s fence and the trees along their fence line. But if I looked even harder, I could see beyond the trees and into the backyard—though barely because everything was so black. Finally, as I focused harder still, I was surprised to find that through the space between the houses, I could actually see all the way across to the other side of the cul-de-sac where my eyes caught sight of a tiny red light shining in the distance.

As I focused on that little red beam, I realized that my reflection in the window had effectively disappeared. In fact, the further away I focused my gaze, the less I found that my own likeness in the window was blocking my view. But as I fixed my eyes on nearer objects, my reflection became correspondingly visible. Sometimes I could only see it slightly, while other times it was more prominent. But one thing remained consistent—when I truly focused my eyes on that distant light, I sort of forgot about seeing my reflection altogether.

And then, in the midst of this simple evening experiment, God downloaded the lesson into my heart:

“Your reflection disappears when you are focused on the right place.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that over time I had turned my gaze to myself instead of keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. So many of my actions and choices in life, though seemingly good, were often being influenced more by my own aspirations, plans, and desires, than by the will of God.

I know that God was asking me to quit looking at all that stuff. Instead, he wants me to turn my gaze towards him and to focus it harder and harder through the remnants of my fading reflection until he is all I can see.

“Your reflection disappears when you are focused on the right place.”

Do you ever find yourself slowly losing sight of the most important things in life? Do you ever catch yourself focusing more on your own reflection than on God and his perfect wisdom?

If you’re anything like me, then the answer to those questions is a resounding yes. Whether it’s our ambitions, our problems, our families, our busy schedules, or even our leisure activities, it can all get in the way and reduce our ability to focus on Jesus. Instead we end up focused on ourselves, running in any and all directions without an end in mind, oblivious to what we’re missing all around us.

The truth is that I haven’t been entirely focused on the right place lately. I’m so thankful for this beautifully personal object lesson from God, and I am ready to transfer my gaze to the only person who can help me see clearly.

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” – Hebrews 12:1b-2a (NIV)

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