So after many years, I think I finally get it (just dove right on in there, didn’t I?) If you live according to the flesh (place your eyes on your flesh) you will reap the things of your flesh. But if you place your eyes squarely on the things of the spirit, you will reap the things of the spirit.
Whatever we place our affections upon, we will automatically move towards, because as a man thinks is his heart, so is he. For example, we can apply this principle to moments when we have (or feel like we have) royally messed up. In those moments we can choose to make our stuff-ups the greater god in our lives, or we can instead repent (change the focus of our eyes and our thoughts and shift them back onto the One who said He would never leave us or forsake us).
This morning I was worshiping to ‘Reckless Love’ and I felt like it’s one of ‘those’ songs that heaven sings over us… like the angels, the greater cloud of witnesses, other created beings, and creation sing this over us like an anthem (of sorts) to never lose heart because the love of God is so much bigger than our minds can comprehend. It’s infinity times infinity.
Our messups are tiny in comparison to our very mighty, hugely amazingly Father God who created the entire cosmos.
Said another way: If we set our eyes of flesh on our fleshly failings, we will want to solve our fleshly problems with the flesh. Alternatively, if we set our spiritual eyes on the things of the spirit in the middle of our fleshly swampy messes, we will be opened up to the spiritual provisions and responses of Jesus’ Kingdom. This is how what is done in Heaven is done on earth: we lean into Him no matter what is transpiring in our own worlds then our hearts and minds begin to naturally conform to everything within Him. In effect, when we set our affections (eyes, ears, emotions, etc.) on things above, we become receptive vessels for Jesus to transition the things of His world through to ours.
Religion says, “You’re a failure because you did not conform! You were remiss in following our laws and our culture! You must either be punished or self-punish!”
Jesus says, “I took your punishment upon myself on the cross, now go and sin no more… I do not condemn you because I was condemned for you (if you will accept that gift). The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Keep your eyes on me. Choose to walk in Me and I will tabernacle with you!”
Yup, the penny has dropped. Either self-punishment and self-hatred are my gods, or the loving, compassionate, teaching, restoring person of Jesus is. Either slavery and fear are my gods, or the liberty-bringing and captive-freeing person of Jesus is. I am either a child of darkness by choice, or I am a child of The Light by choice. Just like Deuteronomy 30:19 says:
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
Photo by Jodie Walton.