January 3, 2023
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It was one of those early spring days when we look out the window and see all kinds of beautiful birds. I saw this one that was actually pretty funny to watch. I'm not sure it was really funny for him. I think it was a bluebird and he was hovering near a rear window on our car, just fluttering back and forth, running into the glass over and over again. Now, he was obviously confused and disoriented. He was going nowhere, just fluttering, chattering, and crashing into the window. My wife said, "You know, I'll bet he sees himself in the glass, and that's what's got him acting crazy."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Problem with Looking at Yourself."
Poor bird. When he just kept looking at himself, he got all confused and disoriented, and he kept running into things. Just like us when we get all focused on ourselves. And maybe that's where you are right now. The stress, the hurt, the load, it's gotten you all focusing on yourself, maybe without even realizing it. And you may actually be fluttering around emotionally, feeling disoriented and discouraged, even crashing sometimes.
God's given us a picture of what this looks like in our word for today from the Word of God in 1 Kings 19, beginning with verse 3. The great prophet Elijah has just come off the most powerful spiritual victory of his life - his showdown with 450 prophets of the idol Baal, where God proved who is Lord by consuming the sacrifice on the altar with fire from heaven. But now the wicked queen, Jezebel, has ordered a "hit" on the prophet - and, man, has he changed.
The Bible says, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba...he went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die." What? How does such a strong spiritual leader get so low so fast? Here's a clue in what he says to God: "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have...put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too." Did you notice? Suddenly, it's all about me.
This is in really sharp contrast to Elijah's focus when he prayed on the day of his showdown with the false prophets. There he said, "O Lord...let it be known today that You are God...that I am Your servant...so these people will know that You, O Lord, are God." See, when it's all about God, I'm on top of things. When it's all about me, things are on top of me.
Fear, discouragement, being all stressed - those aren't signs of being focused on your Lord. That's a bird who's looking at himself or herself and then fluttering all over the place, crashing into things. Isaiah 26:3 says that God will keep in "perfect peace" the one who is "stayed on" Him.
Colossians 3:15 tells us to "let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts." Self-pity, self-centeredness, self-promoting, self-reliance, the harder it gets, the more that self stuff starts to take over, and the more out of control we become.
If you've been looking at yourself too much, don't you think it's time to fly to a higher place where you can get your perspective back; to refocus your eyes away from your great load and back to your great Lord. You turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.