Daily Devotionals

Campfire Stories: Week 5 - Thursday

Jesus shouted to the crowds, "If you trust Me, you are trusting not only Me, but also God who sent Me. For when you see Me, you are seeing the One who sent Me. John 12:44-45

I'll never forget one of the first lessons that my driving instructor taught me was that I would inevitably go in the direction I was looking. If I looked to my right, I would gradually move to the right. If I looked to my left, my car would end up shifting left. That day I learned the importance of looking straight ahead while driving. If I looked to the right or left, an accident was inevitable. Try as we might to keep going straight, when we are driving, we will ultimately go in the direction that we are looking. This understanding is not only true for driving. It is also true in life. What gets our focus and attention drives us.

What are you setting your eyes on? As we go about our lives, there are many things we can choose to look to, especially in times when we feel let down by another person or by life. We can look to other people, our favorite television show, our favorite hobby, etc. Eventually, if we set our eyes on these things, we will begin to go in their direction. For example, if we set our eyes on our favorite television show, we will begin to be consumed with that show and start talking and acting like the characters of that show. While these things can be tempting for us to look to, the prophet Isaiah models a better example for us of things we can look to. In Isaiah 6, he looked to the Lord in a time of uncertainty. He had a vision of Jesus and saw His holiness and greatness. In the New Testament book of John, Jesus explains to a crowd of people more about this vision. He explains that Isaiah did, indeed, see Him in this vision and He calls the people in the crowd to look to Him because He provides light and life. Nothing else we look to can provide light and life like Jesus does.

Where are you setting your eyes this week? Are you intentionally setting your gaze on something else (another person, likes on your Facebook post, the latest Netflix series, etc.)? Our invitation is to look to Jesus. Unlike other people and the uncertainties of life, He will never let you down. When you look to Him, you will move closer in the direction of becoming more like Him.

Moving Toward Action

Is there something you are looking to instead of Jesus this week? Our challenge this week is to shift our focus to Him. Focus on Him by spending time in prayer, reading His word, listening to worship music, having conversations about Him with other people, and obeying Him, even when it is hard. Take a step today to shift your gaze away from other things besides Jesus (delete an app from your phone that takes up too much of your time, join a small group to spend more time talking about God and His word with others, choose to spend extra time reading your Bible instead of your working on your hobby. Whatever God is leading you to do, make a conscious effort to shift your gaze to Jesus this week. He is the One Who provides life and light!

Going Deeper

Read John 12:37-50 (NLT)

But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:

Lord, who has believed our message?
    To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”

But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,

“The Lord has blinded their eyes
    and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
    and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
    and have me heal them.”

Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.

Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”