There are times when we are separated from our community only to grow like we never have before. During this Christmas break, the Father has stretched me and taught me so much about not only myself, but also who He is. It started with the Holy Spirit speaking to me saying, “I am going to teach you something that I can only teach you separated from everyone.” I’ve had ample time to myself, which I chose to cultivate by reading and spending time with Jesus. Two books that have impacted me the most while being home are “Jesus Is ____” by Pastor Judah Smith and “Learning to Love” by missionary Heidi Baker. Two overarching themes that I learned from these books are “Focus on Jesus, not Yourself” and you guessed it, “Learning to Love.”
Many times as humans, we find ourselves focusing on our struggles rather than the One who is providing a way out. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘I hear this all the time, He provides a way of escape.’ But have you heard it so many times you fail to believe it? The power of Jesus, the One who paid for your struggles and your sins over two thousand years ago, has made a way and that is through focusing on Him. When we take our eyes off of Jesus, we allow ourselves to succumb to what society labels us. You hear you’re worthless, you’re ugly, socially awkward, stupid; you hear the lies of this world. For me I hear you’re gay, you’re not a man, you’re never going to have a wife, your children are destined to be like you, your friends don’t like you; your music sucks.
When I take my eyes off the Father, these are just a few of the lies that I hear and believe. Then, the Father quietly turns my face back toward His and I start to hear who He says I am. I hear you’re righteous, you’re a man, I’ll take care of your family, your music brings Me glory. See, when we turn our gaze toward the Father we start to hear the heavenly truths and principles He says about us. It’s a simple truth, yet hard to live out. You are capable of living in freedom from the world’s labels. All you have to do is keep your eyes on Him.
Secondly, I learned (and am learning still) how to love people. This is exactly what Jesus did when He came to earth. He loved the people no one else would. Let’s take a famous person Jesus loved that no one else did, Zacchaeus, the thief. In today’s society, he would probably have the nicest penthouse and ride around in his Mercedes G-class with his RayBan sunglasses. The one thing Zacchaeus didn’t have though was friends. He was hated by everyone. Yet, Jesus saw his potential. He stopped, called him out of the tree and went and dined with him. In the end, Zacchaeus’s life was changed because Jesus took the time to stop and love him.
This concept is hard for many people because we care about our personal appearance, but Jesus didn’t care. Jesus saw the potential in Matthew, the woman at the well, the lepers, the woman with the blood issue. If our gaze is on Christ, then we should see people as the Father sees them. Who is going to stop for the stripper who is searching for the love of the Heavenly Father, the homosexual who is searching for the love of the Father, the homeless man who needs to know the Father loves him no matter his mistakes and the drug addict who is searching for something that can only be found in the love of the Father. They all need love and as Christians, we have this love.
I challenge you to turn your eyes to the Father and see yourself as the Father sees you. Not only see yourself as the Father sees you, but also see others as the Father sees them. View them with the utmost potential. Share His love and stop for the one who no one else will stop for.