Are you anxious or thankful? The answer lies in the eyes of our hearts.
An example of anxiety stemming from the focus of the eyes of the heart occurred with Jesus’ disciple Peter. During the late night as His disciples sailed on the Sea of Galilee to Gennesaret, Jesus had finished praying in solitude on a mountainside near Bethsaida where He had fed five thousand men (Matthew 14:23). When a storm hit, His disciples’ boat nearly capsized as it tossed a considerable distance from shore (Matthew 14:24). Amidst this conflict is precisely when Jesus walked on water to their boat (Matthew 14:25). When the disciples saw their Master, they experienced tremendous anxiety, thinking that they had just encountered a ghost (Matthew 14:26). Jesus identified Himself and told His pupils to take courage and not be afraid (Matthew 14:27).
After confirming Jesus’ identity, and with not only the eyes of his head, but also the eyes of his heart focused on Christ, Peter jumped out of the boat and walked on the water, too (Matthew 14:28-29). Then Peter did something foolish. He shifted his focus from Christ to the stormy circumstances, and he saw the wind, once again experiencing such anxiety that he cried out in fear (Matthew 14:30). Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand, catching not only Peter’s body, but also his heart with these words, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). When they climbed into the boat, the wind died down, and the disciples worshiped Christ in thanksgiving for who He was, God in the flesh (Matthew 14:32-33).
We can learn a valuable lesson from Peter’s story. Life is like a magnifying glass. We magnify the focal point and what is around it becomes fuzzy. When we focus the eyes of our hearts on Christ, our circumstances become fuzzy, and we can be thankful in worship of who He is. When we focus the eyes of our hearts on our stormy circumstances, Christ becomes fuzzy, and we experience anxiety, a halfhearted attempt at getting through conflict. Whether we are thankful or anxious depends on the focus of the eyes of our hearts.
Years later, Peter wrote: “Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Today, shift your eyes from the negative in your circumstances to the positive restoration in Christ.
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