"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
What a beautiful song and the chorus is so poignant and thought provoking.
The hymn was written by Helen H. Lemmel after she was inspired and impressed by a tract written by a lady called Isabella Lilias Trotter called 'Focused'. In the tract, there was this phrase: "Turn full your soul's vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him, and the Divine 'attrait' by which God's saints are made, even in this 20th century, will lay hold of you. For 'He is worthy' to have all there is to be had in the heart that He has died to win.". That was the phrase which inspired this hymn. It's definitely worth reading the tract as it is a brilliant piece of writing. You can check it out here: http://www.unveiling.org/lily/focussed.html
In the tract, the writer highlights the fact that focus is something which is very important in different areas of life - science, photography, use of our eyes etc. The fact that we focus on one thing and the others necessarily fade into the background. This was the thought which inspired the song, reminding us that as we focus on Jesus, everything else will disappear in the background.
Recently God has been teaching and reminding me of the truthfulness of this thought and this is perhaps one of the most powerful concepts in the bible. If you were to sum up salvation and how it works, there are 2 elements - what God does and what man does. God has done everything in terms of creating, condescending as a man, living a life of perfect obedience and dying for our sins. However there is also a work for us to do as humans. Our part is to believe and accept what God has done. If I were to summarise our part, it would be this: look to Jesus!
There's a famous text in 2 Chronicles 7:14 which I belbrings out this concept so clearly. It says: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
The text is a conditional promise: this means that God promises certain blessings on the condition that His people do certain things. The blessings promised are:
- God will hear the prayer
- God will forgive their sin
- God will heal their land
In order for these blessings to be given, there are a few conditions:
- Humble yourself
- Seek God's face
- Turn from wicked ways
There's so much that can be gleaned from this verse, but the thought I'd like to share is simple. Before asking us to turn from our wicked ways, God says we should humble ourselves, pray and seek His face. Often times when I've fallen into sin and I'm wallowing in my guilt and shame, I want to try and do something to fix myself first and make myself more presentable to God. I try and jump to step 4 before doing any of the previous 3. However God says we should come as we are. Humble ourselves from thinking we can do anything to make ourselves better, pray and seek His face. I believe that it is in the process of seeking God's face that we are truly able to turn from our wicked ways. As the song says "...look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."
Let us seek Jesus' face and as we focus on Him, we will be changed into His image.