Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we need to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ


Lift Your Eyes
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” ~2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

For those of us who came to the faith early in life, this verse can be challenging. For us, that moment when we truly believed (our conversion) may have come when we were too young to understand the power of Grace and the nature of sin. Often we were young enough that our sin seemed simple, conquerable, an old coat we could take off that day and leave behind. We assumed being new would be easy, automatic, effortless.

By the time we are mature Christians we understand that sin is more like a thread that is woven into the fabric of our souls than it is a coat. When we believe, Christ takes hold of that thread and we are unraveled and begin to be stitched together again, something far better, incomparable. That process will not be complete this side of heaven, but the work begins the moment we believe and place our faith in Jesus. We’ve been justified; we are being sanctified.

But there are times we can feel like it’s not happening at all, that we’re making the same old mistakes, fighting the same old sins. My early life as a Christian was filled with this sense of being half-done, as if my salvation didn’t take. I kept thinking there was something else I needed to do, a class I had to take, a mission that I could go on, a mountaintop I could climb and then have some transcendental experience that would make me finally feel like I really was a new person, a real Christian.

Nothing I did made a difference. It took years until I understood that I had all the wrong ideas about God’s Grace. It’s given, not earned through our goodness, because we are incapable of being good on our own. Jesus Christ does indeed meet us where we are. And we are sinners. Every last one of us and we will struggle with our natures until our last breath, but what is different, what is new, is that we do not struggle in vain. Jesus has a hold of that thread. He has redeemed us and His Grace covers us.

Sometimes it may feel like you’re walking in the same circle, the same patterns of behavior, the same old ways. Look up. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Lift your focus from yourself to Him. There’s the new path, there’s the way to be that new creature.

You may have heard this before, but it’s the best advice when mired in self-doubt: Don’t think less of yourself, think of yourself less.

When we turn inward to find a solution that’s when we run into trouble, that’s when we return to what we were, not what we were meant to be. Lift your eyes, focus on Jesus – His word, His teaching, His will – and be the new creation He has made you.

~*~
Author Bio:
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world; love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.  

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England.  Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.

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