A familiar passage in the Gospel of Matthew is the Apostle Peter calling out to Jesus as he sees Him walking on the waves of the sea. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” To which Jesus responds, “Come.” (Matthew 14:28-29) As Peter makes his way onto the water, things seem to be going well until he begins to look around; then being filled with fear, he starts to sink. As he cries out Jesus grabs him by the hand and pulls him to safety. Peter is questioned about His doubt while the disciples fall down to worship Jesus. What’s the point? Keep your eyes on Jesus!
Sounds simple enough, right? Christians must live with their eyes fully focused on Jesus every step of the way. Similarly, Bible-believing churches must remain focused on Christ. However, it seems that is not always the case. Too many times professing Christians and churches have substituted something other than Christ to focus upon. Whether we are talking about political agendas, humanitarian causes, or theological imbalances, we must recognize any “double vision” in order that we may call out, as Peter did, “Lord, save us!”
When the church gets sidetracked and loses focus, it is usually because there are important and worthwhile things to attend to. That is to say, even “good things” can become bad when they take the center stage position that belongs to Christ alone.
Desiring godly political policy is a good thing. Christians should be involved in the political process and should vote with firm footing on a biblical worldview. However, good politics will not save us. “If only this person was in office and not that person. If only this law would pass and not that one. If only this political party was in power and not that one… then all would be right in the world.” Dear Christian, if this type of thinking pervades your mind and conversation, you are sinking. Turn your eyes back to Christ.
Helping other people is a good thing. Throughout the Bible we are called to care for, feed, and clothe the poor and downtrodden. So many churches begin outreach programs in order to follow these commands. Yet taking care of physical needs is not enough. The primary need of every person in this world is not physical but spiritual. Feeding and clothing people who remain dead in their sin leaves them no better off than when you first “helped” them. Yes, we should help with physical needs but our primary goal should be to share the saving message of Jesus Christ with people. When any humanitarian cause becomes our primary, all-encompassing mission as the church, we’ve lost our focus on Christ. Under the water we go…
Theology is studying the truths of God’s word. I love studying theology! I love opening the Bible and learning more about God. I love reading books and taking classes on theology. Theology is a good thing. The purpose of studying theology is so we can know God more and worship Him more. Yet, when studying becomes about being a “know-it-all” or gaining religious superiority, we lose sight of Christ and begin to sink
Likewise, an imbalance in our understanding of theology can lead to loss of Jesus-focus. Too many individual Christians and even whole churches can become obsessed with certain topics (usually secondary or tertiary issues) at the expense of the focus of the Bible writers, namely, Christ and Him crucified. The Bible tells us we are to teach the “whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27) Nevertheless, instead of focusing on the primary teachings of the Bible, some people get distracted with end times issues. They want to know the details of what’s going to happen in the future, so most of their time is spent trying to connect current events with prophetic texts. Or, some get distracted by focusing on spiritual warfare issues. Every little thing that goes wrong in their life is attributed to Satan or demons. Again, theology is important and each of these topics has their place. What I’m trying to say, however, is these should not be the topics we are consumed with; we should be consumed with Christ. If a Christian can give you details on Daniel’s 70th week or tips on how to exorcise a demon but cannot give you an orthodox definition of the Trinity, they may be sinking.
We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We must remember that all that we have and all that we are is because of Him and what He has accomplished for us upon the cross. I echo the words of the Apostle Paul in 2nd Corinthians 11, “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Beloved, don’t take your eyes off of your Savior!
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ