17The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there’s freedom! 18And we all, with our faces unveiled, see the Lord’s glory, and are being transformed from glory to glory since this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. — 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
There’s a lovely song, written by Helen H. Lemmel in 1922. The refrain goes like this:
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.
(You can find more information on this song on the CyberHymnal.)
I had been writing about this passage from 2 Corinthians, and so when this song came to me this morning while I was walking the dog (it’s amazing how many things come to me in the company of that dog!) the connection jumped into my mind immediately.
Now there’s an immediate and specific situation that the verse addresses. As he was always, Paul was disturbed and concerned by the fact that so many of his own people did not accept the gospel. Here he indicates that there is an unveiling that must take place, that those who do not understand must have the veil removed from their hearts before they can recognize the Lord.
But I think we could extract a general principle from the verse as well: If you’re not looking at Jesus, you’re not seeing straight. Many of us use the expressions â€œkeep my focusâ€ or â€œget focused.â€ What we mean is that we want to concentrate on the important thing(s) and leave out all the distractions.
Well, this is your ultimate spiritual focus. It’s the one thing that will let you see straight. It’s the key to a good Christian life. Turn to Jesus, look at him, and be transformed. There doesn’t appear to be any transformation without seeing. This is a point that John makes in his gospel in chapter 9 and elsewhere, as well as with the resurrection appearances. We all need to have our spiritual eyes open. If we can’t see, we cannot be transformed.
There are so many distractions in the world today. It’s hard to keep focused on what we need to see and do. Many things that are not very important push themselves forward and try to take up all our attention, our time, and our energy.
Which things are important? That’s what Paul is telling us about, and what Helen Lemmel caught in her song. If you keep looking at Jesus, the stuff that isn’t so important will fade away, and the important things will become clearer and clearer.
It’s simple. It may seem too simple. But it will work!