I was a bit early arriving at my meeting in a town centre church and as it was Scotland’s one day of summer I decided to go for a walk around the town. This is something I really enjoy especially in a town I am visiting for the first time. As I still had a good few minutes before my meeting I decided to grab a coffee, sit outside and watch the world go by.
As I enjoyed my well-deserved coffee, I began to notice that people were walking around looking down. No one really seemed to be looking up, smiling or acknowledging each other. It was almost like they were trapped in their own little bubble.
This got me thinking as to where we as Christian guys fix our gaze. Often we are filled with sorrow or regret and we are constantly looking backwards. We analyse things that happened in the past and replay it in our minds over and over again. Often we try to imagine what would have happened if we had done or said something different. I am sure that you don’t need me to tell you that this is a totally futile exercise and just causes us further hurt.
Another thing we constantly do is keep looking around, especially when we have a problem. We are worrying about a situation or a problem, desperately looking for a solution, trying to do everything on our own, in our own strength. Of course we are men and can fix anything!
Instead of constantly looking backwards or around us, we need to refocus our attention upwards. Faith looks up towards God and what He has done and is doing for us.
When we are struggling with sorrow or regret over something that has happened we need to fix our gaze upwards and be reminded of what it says in Ephesians (Message Version) “Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!” You see when we gave our lives to Jesus, all our sins in the past, present and future have been were dealt with and we don’t need to constantly drag up the past in our minds and beat ourselves up about it.
When we are faced with problems and situations that cause us to worry, it’s time to stop looking around and trying to fix the problems in our own strength. We need to look up and be reminded of God’s promises as in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We must make prayer our first port of call and not the last, trusting that God has it all under control as He has promised.
As I was sitting outside that coffee shop, I wanted to hold up a sign that says “LOOK UP”. Advice which I also need to heed every day as I too get fed up looking at my shoelaces.
Keep Looking Up!
Photo Credit: Dennis Ottink