Spiritual Things

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Not too long ago, I was going through a really difficult time in my life. I was tired of trying to overcome the obstacles and battles that life just kept throwing my way. I felt like once I’d gotten through one hard time or an attack, another one would come. I was hurting, felt lied to, back stabbed, and as if I’d lost my best friend. I started feeling almost condemned for feeling so lost and lonely. I’m a Spirit-filled believer! Am I not supposed to have a joy unspeakable that no man can take away? Is the Holy Spirit not the Comforter? Why was I not experiencing any joy? And why was I not being comforted?

Finally, I wised-up and listened to what God wanted to show me; what I’d like to share with you.

Matthew 14:23 says, “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth hour watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

So He said, “Come.”And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him. “O, you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Notice how Jesus came to them in their time of trouble and need. The disciples were afraid of the circumstances and now also Jesus, thinking He was a ghost. However, Jesus said, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” They were in the middle of the sea being tossed back and forth by these huge waves. Water had to be pouring into the boat and they were probably struggling to keep the boat afloat. This was not a ship, it was a boat. And not just any boat, no, it was probably just a little, unstable boat made out of wood. It’s probably in the back of their minds that they might sink and die, and Jesus is telling them to be of good cheer and not to worry?

Now look at what Peter does. Peter, looking at Jesus, takes a step of faith and walks onto the stormy sea. He isn’t afraid, he isn’t hesitant, and he isn’t looking at the circumstances around him. What happened to Peter is the same thing that happened to me in my storm. And is the same thing that happens to us all in the middle of our storm. Instead of keeping our eyes on Jesus, and focusing on His love and goodness, we start looking at the natural circumstances, the negative, what people are saying, what people are doing and we sink.

It’s not like this was the first time Jesus had ever done something miraculous, in the scripture just before this story, Jesus fed five thousand people! And the disciples were there! They saw it happen, they handed out the miracle food. They had already turned their eyes off of Jesus and on to the things of this world.

How many times have we seen God’s power in our lives, but as soon as it looks like rain, we start panicking? I’ve done it. More than once, unfortunately. It’s an everyday decision we have to make to keep our eyes set on Jesus Christ and His goodness.

“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, 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.” Hebrews 12:1-2

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22

We are supposed to keep our eyes set upon Jesus so that we are not looking at the natural. The natural is not the final authority, Jesus Christ is. Things that are going on in this world, things that people say, don’t look at them. Look to Jesus, then your eye will be good and your whole body will be full of light! (Matthew 6:22)

When we aren’t looking at Jesus, we are looking at ourselves, the natural circumstances, the hurts and pains of this life, and we are then unable to see the faithfulness and love of God. God is ready and able to turn your situation around, but you can’t have the victory if you’re only looking at the negative. If you’re only focusing on the lack and need in your life, how will you ever see what God has brought you out of? God is able and He isn’t waiting for the circumstances to get better. He is waiting for you to look to Him!