Pray - Looking unto Jesus
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 1 Timothy 2:5-8
There is more than enough going on in the world today to keep us occupied with anger, frustration, sadness, worry, fear, weariness of mind and soul, doubt, disgust, outrage and just about every agitating emotion we can experience from the things daily reported in the “news.”
In this present world we are given the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and at least two other weapons as a defense against the madness of our times. The first being greater than the second. But both are vital to our wellbeing. First, to look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith and second, to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
Now each of these carries with it, ways God has set for us to accomplish them.
What does, looking unto Jesus, mean? What does, being wise as serpents and harmless as doves mean?
Looking unto Jesus
In Hebrews 12:1-2 Looking unto Jesus is set in contrast to a race that we are running. Our life as believers is a journey with a goal and a destination that was set for us by Jesus, to bring us ultimately back to union with God our Father and Creator.
It is a race with obstacles and challenges, resistances and persecutions, losses, and all manner of distractions along the way, intended to knock us off course or cause us to give up and keep us from reaching our goal. But we are not alone in this race. Go the Father, Jesus our Lord and the Holy Spirit are running with us. We also have the great cloud of witnesses, cheering us on. This great assembly are all the believers, the testimonies of all the prophets, apostles and saints who have gone before us, how they endured and the victories they won along the way to prove to us that we are on course and that in Jesus Christ our Lord we are already more than conquerors, because He has won the race for us. (See Hebrews 11)
All we need do now is take up our cross daily and follow Him.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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." Hebrews 12:1-2
Looking unto Jesus is keeping our focus and attention, not on the things of this world, but all the more daily on Jesus, on His Word, in prayer to Him, in worship of Him, meditating on Him, thinking on these things all the time —things that are true, honest, just, pure, and lovely, things of good report, things of virtue, and worthy of praise. These are the things we should be continually thinking about. All things that have been created by Him and declared good and very good.
Our primary conversations should be centered on talking with Jesus, praying unceasingly, communing with Him, and talking about Him (His Word) with others. What we hear of whatever is going on in our world is reason enough to earnestly pursue God’s perspective and seek to know and respond to all things as agents of Jesus Christ in the world, as His light in the midst of darkness, bringing hope where there seems to be no hope, considering with confidence the things that are possible with God where there is only talk of the impossible with men.
Looking unto Jesus keeps us aware of His presence, His glory, His victory over the obstacles, over the horrors of evil perpetrated by men against the innocent, and over death that will soon be destroyed forever. And with its destruction all life will be restored to wholeness and peace.
Looking unto Jesus means we keep going toward the truth, not occupying our minds with the things that are seen, but choosing to consider the things that are unseen. The seen things are changing. The unseen things are eternal. And we will see them, even ourselves, suddenly changed in the twinkling of an eye.
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. " 1 Corinthians 15:51
Pray for peace, pray for wisdom, pray for understanding, pray for the will of God to be done on earth as it is in Heaven, minister to those in need, fight the good fight of faith. Stand in the full armor of God and preach the Word instantly, when it’s convenient and when it’s inconvenient, in season and out of season. In other words, seize every opportunity to speak life and truth to everyone, everywhere, all the time. There is never a wrong or inappropriate time to shine light into darkness.
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6
The light of God is in us, and that Light is Jesus, The Word. When we speak His Word, we release that light into the world!
Looking unto Jesus is an act of faith motivated by LOVE. This is, the love and adoration of God that places no one and no thing before Him — Love that is consumed with pleasing Him above all.
Exhortations to devote ourselves to knowing and being guided by God's Word
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Joshua 1:8
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3
"When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee..." Proverbs 2:10
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:1-5
"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." Proverbs 3:7
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Proverbs 4:7
"My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." Proverbs 4:20
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Colossians 3:16
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
Tomorrow we will examine what it means to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.