Keeping Our Eyes in Focus
I so appreciate Pastor Jake’s Spencer’s message on humility (Beholding and Serving). In it he highlighted that humility comes from our ability to stop looking at ourselves and instead look at (or behold) Jesus. Behold Jesus is an act of love—as we gaze upon our Savior we more clearly see His love for us and, as we know him better, our love for Him grows by leaps and bounds. Our focused and humble eyes then can see things through His love and serve others because of His love. It begins with our beholding eyes.
In this direct and passionate letter Jesus calls the church to change. While they seemed to be doing everything right, Jesus points out that they “have left their first love.” He commends them for their hard work, but they lost their passion. They accomplished things—they were a serving church, but they lost their primary focus. They lost their love for each other and their deep, beholding, love for Jesus. They looked at themselves and they forgot to behold Jesus.
The consequence of their change of focus is a loss of power and strength to do what God had called them to do. We can do anything through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). It is only when we take time to behold Jesus and recognize His love for us and our love for Him that we can fully plug into His full power source.
J. Oswald Sanders writes, “It would appear that some crisis had come in the history of this loyal, busy, orthodox church [in Ephesus] which had caused their early love for Christ to wane. Had they become so ardent in the consuming task of maintaining good works that their love for Christ had cooled off? Were they so busy hating the deeds of the Nicolaitians that they had ceased to love Christ? Loss of love for Christ is no trifle. . . for the second-generation Ephesian believers, faith and love and hope had fallen by the way, and all that was left was work, labor, patience. Without the inspiring motives their work became a burden and their orthodoxy a dead thing. It takes ardent love for Christ to make these activities of lasting spiritual value. Toil and zeal and even self-sacrifice are not substitute for love.”[i]
It takes humility to recognize when our focus has changed. It takes a bent knee and a bowed head to Jesus to know when we’re serving out of our own pride (and strength) or humbly doing what Jesus has called us to do out of His love for others and for us.
Let’s work together to not fall into the same trap as the Ephesian church. Let’s not work out of some kind of self-glory, but let’s work together from humble hearts that are gazing, focusing and loving Jesus.
Are you with me?
[i] J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Maturity: Principles of Spiritual Growth for Every Believer, (Chicago, Moody Bible Institute, 1962, 1994), 136