Saturday, December 30, 2023

 Open Eyes

Gordon Crook, Pastor
Grace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Psalms 119:18

As I come to the end of 2023 and think ahead to what God would have me do in the new year, I came across this verse, and especially the phrase “open Thou mine eyes.” I think this is my prayer especially for the new year 2024. I feel like it needs to be the prayer of all of God’s people.

Some will start reading this and think, “that’s right, we need to have our eyes opened to the terrible condition of our government, or maybe, open to see how evil some group of people are, or all of the “evil” that is going on around us and how we need to change that.” There is so much political jousting going on in many churches today; so much fighting with each other and with unbelievers over the culture and the political system that many Christians believe the church needs to fix.

That is not what I am praying our eyes be opened to. In fact, it might be exactly the opposite. I want my eyes to be opened to the wondrous things that are found in God’s Word, just as the Psalmist says. I want my eyes to be open to the wondrous hope that we have through Jesus Christ. I want my eyes to be open to understand what God desires from me and what His will is for my life.

Paul prayed for the Ephesian saints that their eyes be opened to understand “what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power” Ephesians 1:18-19. Having a clear vision of the hope of His calling is key to being able to live in these difficult times without being overwhelmed or depressed by the condition of this world. 

When our eyes are so focused on this world, and the things of this world (whether that be things that we want, or the world system, or how we are being treated by the world or anything else of the world), we are not going to be focusing on our Lord.

I realized recently just how much our enemy, Satan, is attempting to distract God’s people with every possible distraction of the world. It is not the same thing for everyone. What distracts me might not be the same thing that distracts you. However, the enemy knows exactly what to put in front of you that will distract you. This is the reason that I cannot and will not attempt to name the thing that I think is distracting God’s people today, because I would probably miss something and maybe attempt to somehow justify myself.

What I do know, is that there is only one way to avoid being distracted; spending time in God’s Word and listening to the Holy Spirit. I find that when I do this, I realize pretty quickly what the enemy is putting in front of me to draw my attention. Sometimes, it is essentially my own self righteousness wanting to consider myself so spiritual that I don’t get distracted by anything. 

I am so thankful that our Father is so gracious to work patiently in my life. I am understanding more every day just how personal this relationship with my Lord is. Having my eyes opened to understand how much God wants to change me; not me changing other people. As I allow God to work in my life, I find that He can then use me to help others. This is also true in your life. You have to allow God to work in your life if you want to be able to help others. I cannot change anyone, and neither can you. However, God can use us to help others in their spiritual growth. I want my eyes to be opened to understand God’s power to change my life and your life. 

The Psalmist mentions “beholding wondrous things from God’s Word.” This is something I have also pondered much. What exactly are we looking for when we get into God’s Word? Are we looking for something that we can use to beat some other person over the head with? Are we looking for some special code or secret prophecy that we can use to make ourselves look ultra-spiritual? What about looking for “wondrous” things about our Lord?

The word “wondrous” means “marvellous, wonderful, extraordinary.” All of these remind me that our Lord is all of these to us, and we are so privileged to be able to spend time looking for all of this in His Word. I hope your prayer for the new year is to allow God to open your eyes for the purpose of seeing our wonderful Lord more clearly and more personally every single day.