Two years ago in March 2020, I was headed for Cambodia in the face of a new and alarming pandemic. It was my first overseas trip at one of the worst times to travel, yet I felt at peace. Around this time I got an impression in my spirit. “If you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, you will have peace. If you keep your focus on the world, you will have turmoil.” This impression has stayed with me ever since and has proven to be true. When people around me have been fearful, I have had God’s peace. I don’t say this to boast, because it is not a peace I have made. It comes from Jesus, so I will boast in Him!
Jesus said that we may have peace in him in John 16:33.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.John 16:33 NLT
Jesus has already overcome the world! If He has overcome the world, there is nothing outside of his dominion and control. He is the author and finisher of our faith, so it’s not our place to worry about this world. The position we need to take is one of pure devotion to Him, fixing our eyes on Him.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!Isaiah 26:3 NLT
With our eyes focused on Jesus, we aren’t looking at other things. This is a really important truth to exercise. Simon Peter, the apostle, learned about fixing his eyes on Jesus when he stepped out of the boat to walk on water.
About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” 28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”Matthew 14:25-31 NLT
We can see in this passage that when Peter looked to Jesus and stepped out in obedience, the result was a miracle. He was walking on water when no one else was doing it. As a result, he is the only recorded person in the Bible besides Jesus to have walked on water. (Other accounts of water miracles were different, such as the Israelites who walked on dry ground when fleeing Egypt). So, therefore, when you are obedient to Christ, being focused on him, you will do things not done before.
Also note that when Peter looked at the wind and the waves, he began to sink. The wind and the waves can be thought of as a metaphor for the cares and troubles of the world. When we focus on what’s going wrong around us, we begin to sink and lose faith. And without faith, it is impossible to please God.
What we can do to combat this attack on faith is to focus on Jesus. Talk to him and lay everything in his care; Pray to him and let him carry your burdens.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Philippians 4:6 NLT
So I want to encourage you to make it a habit to focus on Jesus. Whenever you find yourself focused on other things, refocus your gaze again. When this habit becomes a lifestyle, your inner peace can never be robbed. I pray you can see that this peace is not dependent on external circumstances, but only dependent on your inner focus on Jesus.