I just recently finished a study of Philippians by Karen Ehman, titled “What Matters Most.” One of the main things that I gained from this study was something she said in one of her videos. She said that we get our gaze and our glance mixed up. We gaze at our problems and glance at Jesus when we should be glancing at our problems and gazing at Jesus.
“Glance” is defined as “a brief or hurried look.” The word “gaze,” on the other hand, is defined as “a steady intent look often with eagerness or studious attention.” We tend to look intently and study our problems trying to figure out a solution and look briefly at Jesus. This can often be seen in how much time we spend worrying and praying. If we spend more time worrying, we are gazing in the wrong direction.
When we have problems or are in the midst of trouble, it is hard not to let it consume our time and energy. But, there is one more word we need to define, and that is the word consume. It means to eat up. God doesn’t want us to be eaten up with our problems. He doesn’t want to be a passing glance. He wants to be our gaze.
Do you remember the story of Mary at the empty tomb?
‘Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).” (John 20: 11-16) (NIV)
Notice where Mary was looking at the beginning of the passage, she “looked into” the tomb. When she turned around, she glanced at Jesus but did not recognize him. When Mary heard Jesus call her name she turned toward him, and I believe gazed at him with an intent eagerness and immediately recognized him.
Let’s refocus our gaze today and truly see Jesus standing where he has been all along waiting for us to come to him.
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3) (NIV)