Fixing Your Eyes on Jesus - The eyes have it (Part 3)

[Read part 2 of this series here]


On the day of the Christmas pageant at Oxford’s St. Ebbe’s School, I was pressing toward a deadline on a software project. This would be a wild day for me, but a glorious one for my daughter, who was five and had been chosen from her class for a speaking part in the Christmas play. The headmistress announced there would be two performances, but as I explained to Allison, I would be able to make only the first program in the morning. At curtain time I was in my seat next to Frank, armed with video camera and beaming with a mother’s pride. Less than an hour later, I was back at my computer pounding out the remaining lines of code, glancing periodically at the clock as the hour approached for the afternoon performance. I felt the heavy hand of guilt, and my resolve to stay away from the afternoon performance weakened. Suddenly I switched off the computer, grabbed my coat, and raced out the door.

 

Threading my way through Oxford’s congested afternoon traffic, I took the shortcut across Christ Church Meadow and along the Isis River to the school. By the time I arrived, I was out of breath, and the program was already well underway. As I slipped quietly in the side door, several parents sitting nearby turned to ON THE DAY of the Christmas pageant at Oxford’s St. Ebbe’s School, I was pressing toward a deadline on a software project. This would be a wild day for me, but a glorious one for my daughter, who was five and had been chosen from her class for a speaking part in the Christmas play. The headmistress announced there would be two performances, but as I explained to Allison, I would be able to make only the first program in the morning. At curtain time I was in my seat next to Frank, armed with video camera and beaming with a mother’s pride. Less than an hour later, I was back at my computer pounding out the remaining lines of code, glancing periodically at the clock as the hour approached for the afternoon performance. I felt the heavy hand of guilt, and my resolve to stay away from the afternoon performance weakened. Suddenly I switched off the computer, grabbed my coat, and raced out the door.


Threading my way through Oxford’s congested afternoon traffic, I took the shortcut across Christ Church Meadow and along the Isis River to the school. By the time I arrived, I was out of breath, and the program was already well underway. As I slipped quietly in the side door, several parents sitting nearby turned to look and nodded with disinterest, as if to say, “Oh, it’s just the American mum.” But I will never forget the look of recognition in the brown eyes of one small Bethlehem bell when she spotted me in the crowd or the zest that punctuated her lines when she realised mom was watching. The instant she saw me, everything changed. Her actions took on new meaning because one person in the crowd was there just for her, someone to whom she mattered and who would take delight in all she was doing.


Although it’s obviously a whole lot easier to fix our eyes on someone who’s physically visible, sometimes I think we make this matter of fixing our eyes on Jesus a lot more complicated than it needs to be. If we’re not careful, it’s easy for this to become some sort of mystical exercise in which we conjure up pleasant images of Jesus (whatever we happen to need at the moment, never mind if it is true or not) to soothe our frazzled nerves or jump-start our spiritual energies.


The letter to the Hebrews, which exhorts us to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” takes an entirely different approach and actually reinforces the notion that fixing our eyes on Jesus means getting serious about our theology. Early on in the letter, the writer urges, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus” (3:1), indicating that we would do well to study Jesus. Following his advice, I have found it helpful to fix my eyes on Jesus by: first, focusing on knowing Jesus better; second, personalising the truth I learn about him; and third, consciously viewing my fluctuating circumstances through the lens of his unchanging character. Once these become habits, they cease being separate actions and blend into a lifestyle.


Taken from When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James. Copyright (c) 2001 by Carolyn C. James. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com

Buy When Life and Beliefs Collide on the Zondervan site here

 

 

 



Carolyn Custis James (BA, Sociology; MA, Biblical Studies) thinks deeply about what it means to be a female follower of Jesus in a postmodern world. As a cancer survivor, she is grateful to be alive and determined to address the issues that matter most. She travels extensively both in the US and abroad as a speaker for churches, conferences, colleges, theological seminaries, and other Christian organisations. She is an adjunct professor at Biblical Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, blogs on www.whitbyforum.com and Huffington Post / Religion, and is a contributing editor for Leadership Journal.

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All images, words and materials are copyright protected and are the property of the author and / or Fixing Her Eyes. Please contact us at fixinghereyes (@) gmail.com for permissions. January 2019