Welcoming 2022 Day 3: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
O soul, are you weary and troubled,
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
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.
His word shall not fail you, he promised,
Believe him and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell.
-Helen Lemmel (1863–1961)
The past two days we have been looking at Philippians 3:13-14 and the idea of leaving what is behind and striving for what is ahead. As I was reading over some hymns and songs with this topic in mind, I came across the above hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Looking toward His heavenly face, the things of earth grow strangely dim. What a beautiful thought! These lyrics perfectly weave together my thoughts concerning Philippians 3. For us to be able to live out this appeal to leave the past behind and move forward—and I mean truly forward to new things—something very important is required: salvation. The words of this hymn are very applicable: life is found in Christ, the perfect salvation to a dying world.
This hymn was penned in 1922 by Helen Lemmel, based on Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” These words were true 2000 years ago, and they remain true to us today. Each year I choose a verse for the year—something that speaks to me, something I want to work on (John 1:16), or a truth I can cling to (Isaiah 43:19)—one I’ll remember the whole year. This incredible verse, Isaiah 45:22, would be an amazing verse for the year, especially if you have yet to trust God with your soul. Sometimes people try to tie up Christianity in a neat little bow made up of a handful of things: go to church, serve others, work hard, be honest, etc. While these are all good things, please don’t misunderstand where I am going with this—they are worth nothing to God (Isaiah 64). God desires a personal relationship with each of us, one that is life changing and life giving all in one.
We’ve just finished our Advent series on the topic of preparing ourselves for Christmas. At the heart of Christmas is the truth of what Christ’s birth meant to the world. His birth meant that His death could occur, and thus His resurrection. Life without a personal relationship with God is a very dull life indeed. The line “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim” goes both ways. Without that personal relationship with our Savior, we are stuck in a perpetually dim world that has no light or hope in it. God allows circumstances in our lives for the very purpose of driving our weary, troubled souls into His arms—the only light to be found is in a look at Him.
On day one of this study, we talked about old things passing away (2 Corinthians 5:17): “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” How incredible it would be if someone reading this left their old self back in 2021 and walked into newness of life eternal with Christ!
My prayer for anyone reading this, Christian or not, is that you would take a minute and look at your own heart. Where do you stand before God? Have you become a new creation in Him? If you’re already walking with Christ by your side, I encourage you to remember the moment you met Him, with your sins heavy on you, when you realized the only way to heaven was through Him and nothing of yourself. Remember that moment and thank God again for His grace. Then do what the last lines of our song say: take that perfect salvation and share it with the dying world.