Where to Look in Troubling Times (Colossians 3:1)
By: Anne Peterson
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:1
When our life is in upheaval what are we to do? Often, what we do is determined by what we are focusing on. That’s why it’s important to ask ourselves, where should we look in times like these?
1) Look out, for the enemy is around
We are warned the enemy prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Satan may be like a lion, but he is toothless. God tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).
2) Look inside yourself
If we’ve accepted what Jesus did on the cross as payment for our sins, we have the Son. Furthermore, we are sealed with God’s Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-13). When someone wants to protect their valuables in a box, they lock it up. The Holy Spirit is God’s lock.
God assures us the Holy Spirit is greater than Satan, saying in 1 John 4:4 that “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” We need to memorize that verse because Satan tries to tell us he is more powerful. He’s the father of lies and we need to trust God’s Word.
3) Look back and remember what God has done
When I am fearful about what I’m facing, the Holy Spirit reminds me of times God helped me in the past. He also reminds me that God doesn’t change. If God helped me before, he’ll help me again.
4) Look in God’s Word
Whenever we have struggles, we can look in God’s Word, his love letter to us. There we’ll find the strength we need for whatever we face. When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, he didn’t face that temptation in his own strength, but he kept telling the devil, “It is written…” If God’s own Son used the Word of God to battle evil, how can we turn to anything else?
5) Look around
God made us for community. He tells us to love one another (1John 4:11). Loving each other means we look out for their needs. God said we are a family, members of one body (Romans 12:4-5). As we look around, we will notice how others are doing.
6) Look up
When things look dark, we are to look up as Jesus did. He lifted his eyes to heaven when he spoke to God (John 17:1). Isaiah tells us to lift our eyes on high and think about the one who created the stars and calls them by name (Isaiah 40:26).
7) Look unto Jesus
Lastly, we need to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, the one who endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Did you know when Jesus endured the cross, he was looking at the joy set before him. That’s those of us who would believe. We’re told to look unto Jesus and in his greatest hour of need, he was thinking about us!
God started a work in us when we first accepted Jesus, and Paul tells us God will keep working until we are complete in Christ. God tells us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, which is temporary, but what is unseen, which is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). And that takes faith. And when we do that, we know that God is pleased because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
In troubling times, if we look at the way things are, we will get discouraged. If we look at the things that look impossible, we may lose hope. But as we continue to look unto Jesus, we will wait on him and God will renew our strength. We will soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31.)
What we focus on determines how we’ll do in our circumstances. What are you looking at? God wants us to keep our eyes on him.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, published author of 15 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss and another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for Anne's newsletter at www.annepeterson.com or connect with her on Facebook.
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