As with every new year, we are naturally given an opportunity to reflect on the lives we lead. In saying goodbye to 2017, we heard from Brent Garrison as he encouraged us to Consider Jesus. In taking us through Hebrews 12:1-2, Brent encouraged us to pause and reflect on the year past and also think on the year ahead. To slow down and reflect on Jesus that we may consider all that He has done for us in the past, all that He is currently doing, and also where there might be opportunities to worship Him more fully in the year ahead. As a follow up to yesterday's sermon, we're sharing the very practical steps that Brent encouraged us to take that we might fix our eyes on Jesus, "the author and perfecter of faith."
Again and again, the author of Hebrews encourages his audience to consider Jesus. To fix their gaze on Him. To orient their life around Him and all that He has done.
In this age of constant busyness, when was the last time you took a few hours to get alone and reflect on anything?
Not zoned out in front of your TV or computer. Not caught up on all social media posts you have missed. When was the last time you slowed down and quieted your soul and reflected on anything? If we are not intentionally taking time to think deeply about Jesus and our lives, we will just do. And like Hebrews says, it is easy to fall back into your old way of doing things.
And so it is in the spirit of intentionally fixing our gaze on Jesus that we encourage you, reader, to take time this week to get alone with God for an extended period of time. Don’t wait, but do take the steps you need to make this happen (get a babysitter, choose a spot where you won't be interrupted, think through your week to choose an ideal time, etc.). And when you do venture out, take nothing but your Bible and journal. Then consider these things:
- Consider Jesus: Think deeply on Him, consider all He has done for you and worship!
- Examine your life: Reflect on the past year. Are you happy with how you are living? In light of your renewed vision of Jesus, does your life reflect your love for Him? What do you have to be grateful for? This may mean fixing our gaze on our joy set before us in heaven – similar to Christ when going to the cross.
- After worshiping and examining your current life, think about what things you might want to change to demonstrate your love and worship of God. Not to pay Him back. Not to say thank you, but rather in worship and love, how might you live your life better in 2018?
Finally, while we have emphasized spending a focused time of meditation & reflection, the reality is that we must train ourselves to consider Jesus constantly.
We have two natures. If we have received Christ as our Lord and Savior, all things have been made new. At the same time, we still have the old sinful nature waging war against us. If we are not paying attention, we’ll just go on yielding to the old nature - doing things the way we have always done them. BUT, if we consider Jesus throughout our day and bring Him into all situations, we will begin to more fully live by our new nature. We’ll walk as Jesus walked. We’ll view things with the eyes of Jesus rather than our old sinful eyes.
In light of these things, consider Jesus. Consider all He has done for you in the past. Consider how He blesses you daily and all that He promises for your future. Then orient your life around Him. Don’t go back to your old way of doing things. He has better things in store for you.