Tag Archives: keeping your eyes on Jesus

Chasing Illusions

One of my buddies is a pretty good magician. He has mastered the art of illusion. Over the years, I became his set up man for his tricks we would do in trainings. Because of my investment, I got to see behind the scenes to each illusion. One of our favorites was a disappearing coin. He would show someone two different coins of different sizes and have them open their hands. He then placed a coin in each of their hands. We would have them close their hands on the coin and identify which was larger. They then clasped their hands, shook them up and separated again. Once they identified the larger coin, they would open their hand and show us. When they opened the other hand, it was a coin exactly like the other. They always wanted to know where the smaller coin went. So he would send them back to their seat and it would be in their book or purse, and neither of us moved.

All illusions trick the brain into believing something other than what’s true. Once the brain believes it, it’s very difficult to convince it otherwise. There are so many illusions that our enemy uses to distract us, and to get us off the paths God has for us. We end up chasing something that looks good, and our brain believes is good, but in the end, it’s just an illusion that distracts us from what God wants. We all fall for them because we’re human and the devil is a master deceiver. He is constantly trying to disrupt our focus, our direction and our relationship with God. His goal is to get us to believe something other than what God said or meant. Think of Adam and Eve in the garden. The fruit was the illusion to distract with the belief that God was holding out on them. The moment they fell for it, they realized they had been fooled.

The main way to combat the illusions and lies of our enemy is to know God’s Word and put it in our heart that we might not sin against God (Psalm 119:11). David knew this importance and wrote a prayer just a few verses later. It says in verse 37, “Help me turn my eyes away from illusions so that I pursue only that which is true; drench my soul with life as I walk in your paths” (TPT). Asking God to help us keep our eyes on Him is another important thing we can do to keep from falling for illusions. Any accomplished magician has mastered the art of distraction. So has our enemy. Keep your eyes on Jesus, stay in His Word and pray that you stay focused on Him. The enemy’s illusions end up leaving you empty handed chasing after something that isn’t real, but God’s paths lead to fulfillment and life.

Thanks to @omkarn285 for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

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Start Running Again

I’m going to tell you something, but you have to promise not to laugh. Years ago, I lived near the local YMCA. I had a membership and would use it to exercise. They had their treadmills right up front facing the window towards the parking lot. I went in and started jogging on one working my way up to running looking outside. There was a TV in the room, but it was four machines over to the right and up in the corner. As I was running, something came on that made me look. I started watching TV while running. My right foot missed the treadmill and landed on the side, which is stationary. I went forward, hit the front of the machine, fell backwards on my rear onto the now sprinting speed treadmill. It shot me off backwards. I did a backflip when I hit the floor. I jumped up, like nothing happened, because people were in there jogging next to me. I got on the treadmill, ran for about 10 seconds, turned off the machine, walked out and never went back.

I’ve never been able to get on a treadmill without thinking about that moment since. Falling shook my confidence in those machines even though it was my fault. As a former runner, I should have known better than to look anywhere but straight ahead while running. Looking anywhere else distracts you from the goal and causes you to drift, losing precious time. In this case, I lost my pride too. The same feelings happen when we take our eyes off of Jesus and fall. Sometimes our fall is public and we feel like we can’t face those people again. Sometimes there’s a constant reminder of it that causes us to hang our head in shame even though we’ve been forgiven. And almost all the time, you have feelings of being a second rate Christian because of it. I’m here to tell you those feelings of shame and condemnation are not from God.

Proverbs 4:25 says, “Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame” (GNT). It’s time to pick up your head and start running again. Your sin and your past is no longer remembered by God. It has been cast as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). There is a robe of Christ’s righteousness around you and your relationship with God is based on that and not your past failures. It’s time to get back on track and to start moving ahead with confidence. You’ve stayed in the swamp of despondency long enough. God still has a plan and a purpose. Nothing you do could ever remove that from you. It is irrevocable according to Romans 11:29. So fix your eyes straight ahead on Jesus and start running once again.

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

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