WHERE YOU LOOK, WHAT YOU SEE
God the master creator and maker, so perfectly created man the apex of his creation that he made him lacking nothing bodily and physically just as he didn’t spiritually and divinely to make for his sensible, purposeful, meaningful, productive and comfortable existence.
He made man with feet to walk, hands to work, mouth to talk, ears to hear, brain to think and reason, heart to decide and eyes to see. All of these put to effective use, make man feel fulfilled and accomplished.
Yet, journeying through life, we have the unforeseen to confront every day. Some good and some bad. The good ones leave us pleasantly excited, while the bad, leave us battered and shattered.
A life torturing and destroying trouble such as the whole world is passing through in the COVID-19, is sending the whole world today looking everywhere for a cure. Indeed a battle line has been drawn between humanity this virus and the war has raged on since December 2019. Coronavirus killing the world and the world desperately restlessly seeking ways and means to kill COVID-19.
The pandemic has brought humanity in almost all it represents on its knees, except the knee of fervent prayers where the ground is a familiar terrain. And bringing the world on its knees, it has done in an ugly, scary and deeply painful manner. And it has done this, while at the same time robbing and denying humanity the beauty and sweetness of life it was hitherto, used to.
We are today perplexed and skewed by this virus and its deadlines. Humankind with all its valiant soldiers in the warfront (the laboratories) all over the world, appears not making any head ways, and the war daily seems defying man’s winning. This has for months, left the whole of humanity seemingly, helplessly watching a world a couple of months ago, seemingly in its control and free from a universally visible threat to life, persisting on, in its gradual slip off its hands and its control. This leaves man with the conclusion that the world is a place of great uncertainty, a place of pleasant and unpleasant experiences. One of which we love, while other, we hate.
We love those great and wonderful experiences, but detest those dreaded and woeful ones, though Jesus our Lord and master himself was not spared them, for they prove him for who he was.. It implies then that in spite of our hatred for the unpleasant of our encounters along the path of life, we need them for their value in making us, is of veritable import. Every true road of, and to life, has them lined up there. On the road through life therefore, is guaranteed no ease. For Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble...” In view of the fact that trouble is guaranteed the Christian Pilgrim through this world, help is inevitable. And to have help, you have to be particular about where you look. For where you look, determines what you see. And what you see ignites your reaction. And your reaction determines how you hold on, and how you hold on, determines how you move on.
In this season of Coronavirus-COVID-19 pandemic; a season when the COVID-19 slaughter seems unabated and the fear of it ever wildly spreading, gripping, tearing and shattering the human heart as does its slaughter of human life; a season when human solution sought everywhere in the known and unknown, and in organic and inorganic cure, appears reaching nowhere except its dead end; a season when nations seasoned in science and modern medicine, have all their scientific and medical knowledge turned deficient and short-circuited; a season where the fast pace of technological advancement seems to have ran into walls too hard and too strong it cannot push down nor penetrate and pass through; a time in history when a curve of life, which man in spite of advancement in modern technology, has found very difficult to turn; a situation where man has looked everywhere else in the world for solution but without one; what must we do?
In a state where humanity is bereft and deprived of ideas, the Bible, the word of God offers humankind a counsel. The Lord God Almighty, the omniscient, the omnipotent and one mighty in battle says, “Call on me and I will answer you and tell (reveal) to you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3).
There are things we do not yet know, and only God can reveal them to us when we call on him and look to him. And the cure to COVID-19 may be one of those. For look as you may everywhere, as man has so far attempted to, you will never find a solution until you turn your look towards God and to him and his Jesus Christ.
When man is hit by problem and is in the the pool of deep trouble, the temptation is that he searches everywhere, calls everywhere and everyone possible, and looks everywhere around and within him for solution, but sparingly, does he search with the Lord, call on him and look to him.
Looks have a swing and a pull. And this is particularly so when you are in trouble.
When you are so privileged to be set apart as a child of God, be assured that you as well, and at the same time, are highlighted as an enemy of the world. Those you are sure to find all around you who are without Christ and not for Christ, are enemies.
As a child of God and soldier of Christ then, whether you sleep and rest, be alert as a soldier would be on the battlefield, sensitive to the slightest movement around him. Never you get entangled in the affairs of the world, for you will be ensnared by its traps. In your daily walk with the Lord, suspect an enemy ploy to waylaying and attacking you in an ambush. And whenever you have fought and gallantly won a spiritual warfare, never you turned complacent, but expect a reprisal attack from the enemy camp. The example of Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel suffices. For as dogs know and welcome their owner waxing their tails, so do they, having their tails stretched out and standing horizontally straight and firm, conversely, rush on the stranger to devour as an enemy invading their territory.
The world will hate you because you do not belong to it. It hated and devoured Jesus; it hated and devoured Stephen and so also a majority of the apostles; so you dare not look in its direction.
Where are you looking right now? Are you looking around? Take your eyes off and look in the direction of help, the direction of God and of Jesus your Lord and Saviour.
Secondly, is looking down. We are more at home looking down when we are in trouble and distressed. We bend our head over and so our heart with it, such that as cast down as the head and heart are, so is our being-the whole of our soul.
The Psalmist realizing the danger in looking this direction, asked the question, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
When it is not all well, down should not be the direction to look. For when you throw your soul down, it is like throwing it down to a hook. The crowds of foes beneath your feet is so huge you cannot contend with. And the fact that serving satan was once your employment, and having gotten freedom from slaving for him, and yet returning to him by casting yourself down, leaves you a potentially re-enslaved person. For getting back up may only take the grace of God, as you are likely to be weighed down and left hooked to your cares, concerns and worries, and these all to satan’s advantage.
The best thing that will happen to you is to leave behind every baggage of burdens and look forward preparatory to looking up, as looking up is the most important and the direction to covet. For it is of every benefit for you to look upwards. The apostle said “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13&14). Note “called me heavenward.”
When Judas betrayed Jesus and showed remorse having watched him condemn, he confessed that he had sinned by betraying an innocent blood but stopped short of repentance. In his search for the way out, he looked in the wrong direction. He looked down for a way out, and all he saw and found beneath him, were the sworn enemies of Jesus Christ with whom he had conspired, crossbred ideas and joined forces to sell Jesus out to. They had given him a paltry thirty silver coins in exchanged for the Lord of lords and the King of kings. He chose to give up the Lord for the lords because of the silver coins that lined their hands,; he gave up the master for manslayers, because all of the years of his going about with Jesus, he never yielded to being made by Jesus and therefore was never made. He had looked in the wrong direction, away from Jesus Christ to the Jewish crisps because he never knew the value of what he was selling out. And having sold Christ, Christ’s value in its utmost form was made manifest as he hanged there on the cross.
Though cheaply sold out, Christ preciously paid for your sin and mine. Christ let go his life and his blood to the shedding that your sins and mine, not in bits, but the whole may be bought and fully paid for.
Yet the great salvation wrought on your behalf and mine on the cross of Calvary, is not because of the price tag placed on Christ. For who, of mere men is worthy to place a price tag on the Messiah, if non on earth could be found worthy to open a mere scroll? No man born of a woman is with such worth, but Judas fed with sin to full by satan his master, dared it. How did it happened?
It is worthy to to note that this was not an overnight occupation by satan of Judas’ heart. It’d been a tiny and neglected hole bored on Judas’ heart. This had given rise to a gradual, slow, but steady and persistent leak of Christ-like virtues out Judas, with satan inch by inch, taking his sit in Judas’ heart. This ploy of satan to have Jesus betrayed through Judas, had spanned a period of over three years, but with the total leakage of Christ-like virtues hitting its peak drain at the Lamb’s hour of sacrifice.
Emptied of Christ, a vacuum was created. And though not by any means and any standard worthy, having been emptied of Christ, Judas let satan enter and occupy the vacuum so created, and getting infected by the evil spirit, he had the gut to trade the Messiah for silver coins.
Judas had gone through those three years of following Jesus as if he were the disciple of Jesus, yet ever a subject of satan his master. Satan therefore held on to him tyly until he had used him to accomplish his mission of betraying Jesus.
And so it is with anyone who has been a stooge in satan’s hand. Having been satan’s subject, he will never leave you alone. He will cause you to look nowhere else but to him. He will always seek a re-entrance into your life, for no king ever willingly looses his subject. Just recalled how Pharaoh got his army quickly, highly mobilized and sophisticatedly so, to pursue the Israelites for a recapture and a return to Egypt after their departure for the Promised Land. He had commented, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services” (Exodus 14:5).
Friend, be aware that kings are used to slaves and free labour. And when you serve satan, he is your king, for every slave to sin, is a subject of satan. Like earthly kings and their slaves, he cannot bear to lose you. For the thought of losing them and they in turn removing their robes to serve even themselves, is torturing to them. So they will never let a subject go, for a subject gone, is free services gone and lost. And that is exactly what satan did with Judas. He had tenaciously held on to him until he had used him to betray Jesus. And even after then, he would not let him have his freedom until he had him crushed himself out of life. And that is what unrepentant servitude of satan ends up in-self destruction.
Betrayers fall in the category of what today’s world calls “fast guys.” They are always looking down for what they can easily and cheaply get. And this, usually in exchange for the most highly esteemed of their company. And typical of the common practice of disposing of what is not yours; that which you did not labour for and which worth or value you do not know, or know yet choose to devalue; it goes for just anything. It is carelessly and cheaply disposed of. A sort “let’s part ways with it very quickly.” Yet, that is how you know who is not the owner of a highly valued thing. They give it away and at a throw away price.
Your Christian journey is much more than just physically following Jesus; it is absolutely about where the heart is in its purpose and mission. The poisonous cooking of the heart may be running pari-pursue with the outward following of Jesus. Defining moments however come, when the machinations and the schemes of the heart are exposed and revealed. They naked and let everyone see us for who we are; as betrayers, deniers, hypocrites, wolves in sheep wears, or traders who seek to make quick money with Jesus etc. And these, in our today’s world and christendom, are not in short supply.
Are you one? I am one? Do we belong to such a fold as these? Where you look tells who you belong, whether you are of the company of those who appear to be going with Jesus yet have a short and parochial look; looking down and here and now for what they can get, or going with him with a long range look, looking far, far off and with eternity in view?
Where are you looking right now? Down? Then you will see nothing but your horde of foes in men and material enticements. Ask the Holy Spirit to point you to the direction you must look, and you will indeed look aright and see friends and find hope and find help.
Thirdly, is the inclination to look within. We are with a very high tendency to turn to our heart in search of solution. The heart, the store of all our thoughts in good bad, may yet be overwhelmed with so much of the bad and it is in deep trouble, bad shape and not the right direction to look for solution. Whenever we insist and go to it in such a state, we usually will do so only to find out that it is in an unhealthy state, and can only worsen our case.
Therein, we may discover that sin and self have clogged and are struggling and set to fight every godly thought and plan that seeks to uproot and unseat them. There, we will clash with vain thoughts and vain desires, the stuff that satan imports into the heart of God’s children; for no one living is without them-vain thoughts and vain desires. As such concentrating your look there and engaging in a battle with those unhealthy deposits, all in the strength of the flesh and blood, is a battle to lose. Throwing your focus in the right direction, the direction of help, will be your sure recipe to victory. For though you may not totally rid yourself of the stuff that is the heart’s content, yet looking away from it and looking in the right direction and through the help from looking in the direction that is right, you can resist and oppose them as they attempt to rear their ugly heads. Though it is no doubt that they do have their place in the life of the child of God. For they may be there to serve their purpose of building the overcomer to grow and develop Christ-like virtues.
For if there were no devil to tempt you, no enemy to fight you, and no world in its offers to ensnare you, no external foes to spiritually terrorize you, you will still find within yourself evil in its sufficiency to toss and twist you around violently, “for the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Also the scripture records that“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thought of his heart was (is) only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).
The heart of man in its natural state then, is a den of evil and a forge for wickedness. An untamed heart is like an un-mowed lawn, full of wild and over grown grass. A heart not open to the regular sanctification of the Holy Spirit, is a hub for ill and wickedness. Such a heart is so rich in evil and sinful thoughts and plans you cannot fathom. In that state, it is not the place to look when trouble brews. Because therein, you will never find the help you seek, but certainly the woe you do not desire.
When Judas was turned off in his attempt to return the thirty silver coins by those to whom he sold Jesus, he looked within and to his heart, and all he saw as the way out of depression, was a template for suicide, he quickly became a suicide smith and went ahead and produced one; for suicide, he committed.
An un-sanctified and un-purified heart-a heart without the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, has nothing good conferring therein except worries, distress, depression and destructive plots.
Are you in trouble of any kind right now? Are you looking within, to yourself and into your heart? Then be sure that it is a heart where Christ sits on the throne as King. Be certain it is a heart where the Holy Spirit, the clearing and cleansing agent is ever present and at work. Be sure that it is a heart that is not an accommodation to rubbish but for rubies and heavenly pearls. Else never you dare look within, for you may see a heart empty of Christ and therefore empty of life but loaded with death and destruction as Judas did see.
Finally, is the one direction we hardly quickly look to-“looking up.” Yet the only direction with a guarantee for solution to all of the troubles of life. Everyone with and in the Spirit, looks there. Jesus every now and then looked there; Stephen looked there, Peter and John in prison, looked there; Paul and Silas incarcerated, looked there. How do you today look there? You look there in fast and prayers, praise worship songs and in connecting with God through the study of, and meditating on his word.
Look to the one sure place you must. Look up and look to God, the one direction and the one being you can never look to and look in vain. It is the direction and the place where the all in all of the the Christian person is located and stationed. It is the place of your allocations, the place of your favours, the place of your fortunes, the place where your ready troops are stationed and ever set for the day of your battle; the place of your breakthrough and the place of your gallantry and victory.
When you look up, you will see your Heavenly Father. When you look up, you will see the one whom you aspire to be like-Jesus Christ. When you look up, you will not see discouragement but encouragement; when you look up, you will not see mess but purity and holiness, splendour and majesty. When you look up, you see God adorned in his kingly robes and seated on his throne. When you look up, you will see Christ with whom you are co-heirs standing to the right hand side of God the Father.
Looking up then, should be the habit of every child of God, for Jesus every now and then looked there, the wise and godly are equally persistent and consistent in looking there. And all who ever looked there saw what those who looked around, looked down and looked within never saw.
They saw God in his glory, his splendour, power, might, his providence and sovereignty. They saw God at his best.
And though you see God in all of his array of heavenly glory and you aspire to be like him, and indeed, you will be like him if you endure, persevere and if you remain persistent and consistent, as you encounter and stand those troubles set along the way to grow and mature you. Yes, to be like Christ, you must be drilled and grilled in the furnace and through the fire of affliction for your refining and your purification. You must pass through the kiln of the separation of your dross from your pure substance; you must pass through and be crushed in-between the mortar and pistol of the separation of your chaff from your grain. For it is never an easy thing to separate man-flesh and blood with sin: to get rid of our corruptions and the stain thereof, and to bring us to the place of cleanness, and turned us as perfect, even as our Heavenly Father is, is not easy. For mark what the apostle Paul says, “For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate to do...For what I do is not the good I want or do; no, the evil I do not want to do, this I keep doing...” (Romans 7:15&19).
In your Christian journey, in your sojourn as a Pilgrim, you will do well to cultivate, grow and develop the culture of looking up. Develop an unbreakable connection and an unfailing and ever flowing and flourishing relationship with God like a river ever in season. For if your touch with him is not constant, then you will be reduced to a spiritual scavenger. You will always find yourself looking everywhere else except in the direction that matters most. You will be an expert in looking around, looking down, looking within and to yourself, but never looking up-to God and to his Christ.
Where are you looking? Where is your gaze right now?
May I point you to the direction to look when in trouble and are desperate; may I sell that direction to you? Look up, look to heaven where Jesus is seated to the right hand of the Father interceding for you perpetually.
Turn to him, run to Him and look to Him. Jesus wants you to look to Him. And the writer of Hebrews sells him to you as the one you should look to as the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). The person you have developed a habit of looking to, is the most important person in your life. And for you as a Christian, Jesus is that person, for other than him, there is no other. He is the greatest love you will ever need and the greatest love you will ever have.
A habit of looking up to him, tells how much you love him. It also tells that you do not want to leave a vacuum in your heart and life for sin to squat. Being consistent in looking up to him, makes him an auto tune of your life.
Do always live in the know that in this world, there will always be trouble, don’t you however, ever be despondent; that is feel sad and without much hope on account of the reality of an ever lurking trouble. For troubles are not meant to consume you, but to sift and refine you for the emergence of the better and Christ-like you. So when satan buffets you, mind the direction you look for that determines whether you stand or fall. Look up, for there you will find God who is ever ready to reach out to you and to take you in like Noah and the tired dove, God who desires to be with you to help, to strengthen and to give you a way out. For he said “I will be with you in trouble, I will deliver you and honour you.” (Psalm 91:15).
Are you right now in any form of trouble? Where are you looking? Are you lost and uncoordinated as to what direction to look? Looking around and down leaves you seeing your enemies in their numbers. Looking to yourself, sends your eyes seeing within, exposing a state that is overwhelmingly weighing and draining, leaving you the worse for it. But looking up brings you face to face with your owner. There you see your creator, your sustainer and your preserver. There you see your Saviour and your intercessor; there you see solutions to all human problems, you see your builder and porter-Jesus Christ who is preparing a place for you-your eternal accommodation, your eternal dwelling; so that where he is, there you may be. “LOOK UP”