One of my favorite hymns is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” Of all the words that could be circulating through our heads right now, I believe these should be in the top ten. We give attention to so many people, ideas, data, fears and facts. We must have some type of system of choosing what takes priority and what needs to be placed to the side. These choices are based on all types of preconceived ideas. Some allow politics to be their primary filter and this determines who their best friends are, what TV shows they watch and don’t watch, the authors they read and trust and even their theology. Some allow finances to be their go-to filter. Their major (and a lot of the minor) decisions are based on how much something costs, whether or not it will be a good investment and if, in fact, it can produce them any income. Still others will allow education to serve as their primary filter. They refuse to listen to anyone who doesn’t have the proper training and degrees.
Each of the above filters I mentioned have strong magnetic properties about them. They pull and tug at our hearts, emotions, mental faculties and desires. They play on the innate desire we each have to be comfortable; to have all of our needs met. The built-in desire we have to be in control of all things surrounding us plays into this. We doubt our ability to make definitive decisions on our own, so these filters give us ‘experts’ who tell us what is good and bad, what is smart and dumb. Each of these filters gives us an escape so we don’t have to make all of our life choices on our own. They place us in a group of likeminded individuals who will encourage us in our choices. Groups like Democrats or Republicans, investors and business execs, college professors and respected news reporters all encourage us to use their particular filter to make our choices. Most of the social norms encourage us to adopt one or more of these filters. All of them claim to be objective and to have your best interest in mind.
While common sense feeds all of the above filters and many of the other hundred filters out there we submit ourselves to on a daily basis, I suggest to you there is one lens through which all of our filters should be viewed. If we allow any of these secondary filters to block our view of this one lens, our decisions will ultimately be skewed at best. This one lens is the Bible…and I will go further than that. John calls Jesus “The Word” all throughout his Gospel. This one lens is Jesus.
This means Jesus should be the primary way we view the relationships we build. He should be the way we interpret our finances, receive our news, filter our media outlets, make our political decisions and decide who the experts are we will trust. If we do not allow Jesus to be our standard, our lives will quickly derail.
Like Babel, each of the above filters is manmade. And just like the city filled with workers that God confused, these filters do not offer us anything more than our own earth-bound perspective. They long for height, power and success, but in the end only leave us craving more. After a lifetime of seeking direction through these filters, we will be left with nothing more than a pile of broken bricks.
Jesus, on the other hand, offers us the only lens in the world that isn’t contrived or forced. He has no motive other than to present truth in a light that can be understood by us. His perspective is the only top-down view we can gain, and He freely offers it to all who ask. He doesn’t devalue our perspective, but His presence gives us a common longing for more. Like inside information, once we hear truth we can’t help but ask other questions.
Right now our world is overwhelmed by chaos and competing rhetoric. The pandemic has opened up a world of experts, all of whom have had little to no success with their solutions. Yet they keep chattering…and we keep listening! More chaos seems to lend itself to more experts and more advice and more time spent by us seeking their answers.
The year the world fell apart can either be remembered as the year we ended up in a civil war of disagreement OR it can be remembered as the year we finally admitted we don’t have all the answers and looked to the only One who does.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.