Parts 1-4 of this series provide the first answer to the questions “what should we be looking at?” and “what should we be seeking after?” In sum, we should be looking at and seeking after what is unseen because what we call ‘reality’ exists by means of what we can’t see. (Heb. 11:3) Seeing the unseen, therefore, reveals to all believers that ‘eternal weight of glory’ behind this otherwise unsubstantial, fleeting and temporal life. (2 Cor. 4:17-18) This is what it means to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) for it is only faith that gives us ‘healthy’ eyes to see the unseen, fill us with light and make us lights in a world overwhelmed by darkness. Now, consider this:
Hebrews 12:1–2 (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
One important theme of this letter to the Hebrews is the suffering and persecution that comes because of faith in Jesus and resulting temptation to turn back from this faith that proclaims Him the fulfillment of all the Old Testament spoke of concerning Israel’s Messiah andthat He is the Savior of all people who embrace Him, whether Jew or Gentile. Hebrews 11 and 12 bring the whole discussion of remaining faithful to Jesus in spite of horrible circumstances to a climax first by showing the necessity of seeing the unseen by faith, citing a host of examples who did just that and, second, that Jesus, who is the Alpha and Omega of all that exists (i.e. the Word through which creation came to be) is at the same time the Author and Finisher of the faith by which all of us now bear an “eternal weight of glory”. Therefore, “looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith” is a logical second answer to the questions ‘what should we be looking at’ and ‘what should we be seeking’.
The word “looking” is the Greek word ἀφορῶντες and means, among other things, to have one’s eyes fixed upon something or someone; more colloquially, we might say “to be fixated” on Jesus. Looking unto Jesus (not a preacher, church, Christian celebrity, secular celebrity, athlete, music artist etc.) makes Him that singular Center around which our lives revolve. But, more importantly, since He is the Originator of the very faith whereby we see the unseen, singleness of vision fixed on Him alone is the only way we ever ‘see’ anything in proper perspective.
The point is that looking at and seeking after anything the world considers worthy of pursuit will most assuredly fill us with darkness. Should we try looking at the world and Him at the same time, as many do these days, we will become cross-eyed, unable to run the race set before us.
But, even though we know all this, there many shiny objects out there to distract us, aren’t there? A perilous change within Christianity is that many ‘shiny objects’ once plainly seen as sinful and idolatrous are now accepted as harmless, vestiges of an old-fashioned way of life that can’t be sustained in our modern world. From the way men and women, boys and girls, dress, the way they talk, the places they go, what they look at and seek after, to the epidemic moral laxity that now guides their life-changing decisions, the myriad shiny objects of the world have eclipsed the Originator of their faith. He is ‘watered down’ to an innocuous and non-threatening ‘nice guy’ that champions even the vilest life-styles in the name of love, tolerance and acceptance. And all of this is not just happening on the streets but also in churches that once held fast to the gospel and to the centrality of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords only now to have taken their eyes off Him to look at the new shiny objects the world displays.
We must see Jesus, not as we would like Him to be, not in our image, but as He really is. This cannot happen, nor will it happen, until all of us become fixated on Him again and stop looking at everything, and everyone, else as a guide to the kingdom. There is no substitution for and no alternative to Jesus: He is all in all or He is nothing to us; no in-between, no place for being cross-eyed, trying to look at the world and Jesus at the same time and then expect to be filled with light, much less ‘see’ where we’re going.
© W.G. Ryzek 2013