Chances are, if you’ve turned on the radio to your local contemporary Christian station for more than fifteen minutes at any point in the last year, you’ve heard at least a verse or two of FOR KING AND COUNTRY’S “Fix My Eyes” riffing through your speakers. The premise of the song is a fairly straightforward one, largely in line with the themes of most contemporary Christian songs: look to Jesus and do as he commands.
Perhaps slightly less well-known than the song itself is a verse it references. Hebrews 12:2 says that we are to “[fix] our eyes on Jesus, the leader and finisher of our trust.” Doubtless, this verse was part of the inspiration for the popular song, and it brings to question: what does it mean to really fix our eyes on Jesus? Some versions of the Bible read “look at/away to” or “keep our eyes on” Jesus as opposed to using the word “fix.”
Zoned In or Zoned Out?
This all seems simple enough; “looking” is something we’re pretty familiar with. Synonymous with “looking” is gazing, staring, or even glancing; we’re said to give someone “a look” when we articulate a nonverbal thought or idea with a facial expression, and every parent has at one time dealt with a child who was “just looking” when they were really mentally (sometimes even physically) “grabbing an item that they really, really want.” We look at attractive people in passing, go “window-shopping”, look at our phones to check the time—then look again, because we were totally distracted the first time and didn’t actually see what time it was. We’ve also practically made “zoning out”—staring vacantly into nothing—a universal hobby. “Looking” really doesn’t require much thought from us anymore.
But “fixing our eyes” infers something else in the context of Hebrews 12:2. In fact, there’s a deeper meaning in the Greek text that even “fixing our eyes” doesn’t quite cover—the Greek word holds the meaning “to look away from all else.”
Therefore, looking to Jesus, keeping our eyes on him, is an active and engaged practice that involves turning our eyes away from other things and keeping them focused on him; this makes sense given all the distractions we face in day-to-day life. Hebrews 12:1 names these encumbrances: “every weight, and the sin that so easily entangles us.” It’s hard to keep our gaze fixed on one thing when we’re distracted by all the others; doing as Jesus asks of us and running the race that is “marked out for us” isn’t an easy task in the first place, and it’s made all the more difficult when we’re just glancing at him rather than fixing our eyes.
The Dangers of Drifting
Another way of approaching this is through a lesson most people are taught when learning to drive: where you put your eyes is where the car will go. If a driver is distracted by something happening to the right of the road, the tendency is for the car to “drift” in that direction. What we focus our eyes on, then, tends to dictate where we steer our lives. If we’re focusing on the things of God, we keep our vessel pointed toward Him; when we start to glance off the road, we wander. Safe drivers make it a point to be vigilant, keeping their eyes mostly ahead, focusing on the road before them. In the same way, it is equally important that we keep our gaze focused on the Lord Jesus Christ as we navigate the roads of life.
Losing the Distractions
Fixing our eyes on Jesus holds the promise of many great rewards; it can keep us from straying into sin, fill us with wisdom and strength in all circumstances, and allow us to fulfill the calling of God that we’ve received in Christ Jesus. But it also requires us to turn ourselves away from the hindrances of the world and keep our focus on him—not always a simple task. Always a rewarding one.
The beautiful thing is that the longer we strive to fix our eyes on Jesus, the more distractions will begin to fall away. The things of the Lord become clearer when we’re determined to keep our eyes on them, ignoring the distractions and making it a priority to fill our field of vision, our thoughts, and our purpose, with what God would have us do.