What Are You Looking At?

    Apr 14, 2020 | by Anthony Wade

    There are so many things in this world that are competing for our attention.  TV ads, YouTube playlists, trending topics on social media, and self-help books and articles are everywhere and they are looking to gain entrance into your life. They are all striving to pull your focus their direction so that they can influence you and gain a small place of importance in your thinking.

    Actually, all of those things are more and more subtle these days.  It seems like back in the day, it was easy to spot the attention-grabbers in our lives.  Spuds MacKenzie or those talking frogs were an in-your-face way to catch your interest.  Now, when we pull the TV… I mean, phone… out of our pocket, we get hit with so many streams of influence that are all trying to get us to look their direction for access into our minds.

    Now, not all of these things are beer commercials or some other marketing campaign.  Much of the time, the things that get our attention, as believers, are those sly attempts to show us how to be better.  Better parents.  Better employees.  Better friends.  Better Christians.  Just overall better people.  And the common thread through most of these sly attempts is the idea that we need to do something different or make some change in our lives that will put us in a position to get to a place of importance.  The underlying thought is that we are flawed and if we can make this change, we will have more Kingdom value and be “better clay” for God to use for His glory.

    You may have noticed that twice in that previous paragraph, I used the phrase “sly attempts”.  Why are those things sly?  Well, because about 99.99% of the material I have seen out there for believers are based on the notion I just highlighted.  Boy, was it subtle.  Did you notice the theme?  Did you see it hidden right there in plain sight?  That notion is that you need to look to YOU!  This thought process involves looking at all of your talents, gifts, personality traits, and even imperfections, in an attempt to change the bad and enhance the good.  All of this is supposed to lead to you being better in some way.

    The children of Israel went through a process in the Old Testament that is a type of how we can get through tough situations in our life.  It is found in Numbers 21:4-9.  After they had come out of Egypt, they found themselves in a tough spot.  The people were very upset with the way, or journey, in which the Lord was leading.  So, the Bible says that they spoke against God and against Moses.  Because of this, they opened the door to a terrible problem.  There were snakes in their camp.  Bad snakes.  What the Bible calls “fiery serpents.”  Many people were bitten by these snakes and died.

    When Moses went to the Lord to intercede for the people after they repented, God gave him instruction.  It was very simple.  He was to make a brass sculpture of a serpent and put it on a pole.  When a person was bitten, they were instructed to look at that serpent and NOT at their snakebite.  Everyone who did as instructed lived.

    Why is that important for us today?  Well, that serpent was a picture of the cross.  Jesus became sin, sickness, and every other part of the curse for us on that cross.  When we look to Him as our sacrifice, we see the answer.  We don’t have to look around at the circumstances of our life and we certainly don’t need to be looking to ourselves to find the answer.  Hebrews 12:2 tells us to “look to Jesus” who is the author and the finisher of our faith.  He is the picture of completeness.  He is our righteousness.  He is our big Brother.  He is our joint heir.  He is our example.  He is the answer to every question we will ever have about who we are called to be.  The answer is always seeing yourself complete in Christ Jesus!

    So when you seem to be snakebitten in life or just want to improve to be all you can be, look in the mirror and ask yourself “What are you looking at?”  Because the right answer is always clear: Jesus.

    Today’s Word Study:  Numbers 21:4-9

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