'Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow
In the light of His glory and grace'
For so many of us the encouragement to look upon the face of Jesus is the scariest thing in the world right now.
Like me your experience of church life and Christianity has some pretty painful moments in it. It is only in the last 5 years that I have been able to shake free of many of the wounds and old mindsets that came with living the Pentecostal religious life. I've loved Jesus under the autocratic hierarchy of man-built and men-led movements. I've loved Jesus under religious control, spiritual and emotional abuse from those who shepherded me. Most of my walk was fear based - under the law, under the fear of man and afraid of doing the wrong thing and God being mad at me. I've been manipulated, judged, criticised, rebuked from the pulpit, separated out, left out and a whole bunch of other things because I didn't fit into someone else's box. My heart breaks for those who are wary of coming back into fellowship with Him let alone the Body of Christ.
When I was a baby Christian the Lord spoke very clearly to me 'Don't look at man, come always to me'. I endeavoured to do that as best as I could, but I have still had to journey out of all of the above and allow Him to bring healing to my heart and my mindsets, but through it all God has refined and purified me more and more into His image, so it has not been a wasted journey.
I just so wanted to encourage you today to be brave. If you're hurting from man, turn your eyes upon Jesus. I don't mean to sound trite when I say that. You've probably heard it before, but your newness of life and healing is in Him. He is not the author of your wounding, but rather the healer of your hurts and the deliverer of your bondages. People hurt people. Jesus does not. Trusting Him when we make ourselves vulnerable afresh to Him is not easy, but He knows our hearts. He sees the smallest step we take towards Him and He honors it and treats it as gold. He is not an angry God who has condemned you to hell because someone else told you that you were bad. The things your heart cried out for when you first encountered Him still matter, are still valid and still waiting in the love Jesus has for you.
Last week I had a rather unpleasant encounter in the natural with religious, Pharisaical spirits that left me feeling battered and my mindset rather negative. I've struggled to regain my balance, but this morning I set time aside and walked into Jesus' presence by faith and He met me there and He did some things to my heart I can't describe but I know that I have my balance back. He's my Jesus and He loves me.
I ended up reading Hebrews 7:15-19 in the Message Bible this morning - '....The former way of doing things, a system of commandments (religion and keeping the law) that never worked out the way it was supposed to, was set aside; the law brought nothing to maturity. Another way - Jesus! - a way that does work, that brings us right into the presence of God, is put in its place'.
When we entered into Jesus, the power of the law was broken off our life (despite men trying to keep us under it) and we entered the freedom and grace of our Heavenly Father. Religion comes from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but life comes from the Tree of Life - Jesus.
It is in Jesus that we find our healing. If we do nothing else but renew our relationship with Him, then we have taken a giant step. He encourages us to come back into the safe harbour of His heart and if we trust Him, yes He will bring safe people around us to help us with our healing too. It's no longer a dictatorship of men, but a partnership with our Creator who lovingly restores and brings us back into His rest. We find new dimensions and places of safety and peace we haven't experienced before. We find freedom from the angst, the fears and the bondages that have tried to steal our inheritance in Him.
Looking into the face of Jesus today however that happens for you, in whatever measure you can give Him right now is enough. It is enough for you and enough for Him, and as you keep your eyes on Him that measure will grow and so will your healing and your freedom.