Category Archives: Seeing Him

Do you often live just day-to-day, going through the routine of life? We so easily lose sight of Him who is our everything. Through this booklet, let the Lord Jesus restore your heart and eyes to see Him again.

Conclusion – Seeing Him by K.P. Yohannan

Seeing Him - KP Yohannan Books

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There is a beautiful chorus that goes, “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.”1 All the difficulties, all the pain, all the letdowns, all the delays and all the suffering and sacrifice will grow dim when you look to Him.

It is when I look to the world that I begin to have problems. Peter walked on the water when he looked to Jesus. But the instant he stopped focusing on Jesus, he saw the wind and waves and he began to sink (see Matthew 14). It is when I look away from Jesus that I begin to sink.

It is when I look to other people that I begin to have problems. When I compare myself with you, then I begin to have problems. But when I look to Jesus, I have His perspective. Then I see that I am in great need. Then I see that I am a sinner. And I see His grace and mercy and love for me. I see His power. I see His glory. His holiness surrounds me.

And that is the key—seeing Him. That is more important than anything in this whole world.

Prayer

O Lord, whom have we in heaven but You? You are our only hope. You keep us going. Lord, I pray that You would help us turn our eyes to You, that we might see You and worship You. For the one who feels they have lost sight, Lord, I pray that You would restore their vision and help them to see You once more, full of love and grace. Father, help us to see You in the little things, the ordinary things. And may our new sight give us the strength to continue on for Your glory.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Notes:

1 Helen H. Lemmel, “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus” (1922).

© 2003 by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

Seeing Him

Seeing Him - KP Yohannan Books

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One of our great difficulties in life is that we try to understand Christ and relate to Him in terms of time and space. When we talk about being near someone or looking at someone, we think in terms of our eyes and ears and distance. But time and space are only relevant to us as finite beings. God is everywhere and feels all, which is why the psalmist declares, “One cannot hide from Him anywhere, He is closer to us than our own being.” If that’s the case, we must conclude that our seeing the Lord has to do with our spirit, our inner man, rather than our natural eyes. That’s the reason Paul, in his incredible prayer for the believers, prayed that “the eyes of [their] understanding [may be] enlightened; that [they] may know what is the hope of His calling . . .” (Ephesians 1:18).

Paul’s prayer emphasizes on having the eyes of our understanding opened. We could read through the four Gospels and record everything about Christ—how He lived, what He did and what He said—and try to live by that like using a “how-to” book about changing our behavior or building friendship or maintaining good conversation. Yet we still will never be able to see the risen Christ of glory and be changed by Him if the eyes of our understanding are not opened.

It says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” In the Word we see the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as we gaze upon Him we see the nature, the character and the presence of the Lord. As we gaze upon Him and meditate on Him from the depth of our heart, the Holy Spirit within us begins to transform us and change us from within. Our attitude changes, our feelings change, our evaluations change and our decisions change. Our external circumstances may stay the same, but inside we are transformed. Our eyes have been opened, and we see our risen Savior. And it’s no longer despair and melancholy and hopelessness—but rather hope, strength and confidence that come from the Lord.

It is the one who seeks that finds. It is the one who knocks that the door is opened to. How often we live through years of our life in our own strength, struggling, striving and fighting, while all it takes is for us just to pause and wait in His presence. Then we will hear His voice and see everything from His perspective.

Always with Us

In the book The Horse and His Boy,1 by C.S. Lewis, the main character, Shasta, is lost in a dark forest. He can’t see anyone or anything and does not know how to find his way. He is scared, and most of all, he is totally exhausted. His problem is not just that he is discouraged, but he is also full of self-pity, totally rejected. Seated on his horse, Shasta wanders in the pitch-dark along terrible, narrow mountain trails. Shasta doesn’t know what to do. He is separated and alone and doesn’t know where to go. Suddenly, in the midst of this awful loneliness and despair, he is startled by a new awareness.

Shasta discovered that someone or somebody was walking beside him. It was pitch dark and he could see nothing. And a Thing (or person) was going so quietly that he could hardly hear any footfalls. What he could hear was breathing. His invisible companion seemed to breathe on a very large scale, and Shasta got the impression that it was a very large creature. And he had come to notice his breathing so gradually that he really had no idea how long it had been there. It was a horrible shock.2

When Shasta begins to hear the warm breath, he cautiously asks, “Who are you?” To which the creature, who is the great lion Aslan, answers, “One who has waited long for you to speak . . . Tell me your sorrows.”3 As a result, Shasta is no longer scared, but comforted.

Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.4

Just like Shasta, we too often get lost in the dark. No matter what we do, we simply can’t seem to find the Lord or hear Him. What should we do in those times? I believe one of the significant things we can do is to remember that whether we see Him or not, hear Him or not, He is still with us. We must learn to quiet ourselves and wait, asking the Holy Spirit to open our inner eyes to see Him and to hear Him.

Recognize Him

One of the most powerful ways to see the Lord, on a constant basis, is to be aware of events that happen every single day, seeing God at work in the little things—the email you receive or the telephone call; a letter or just someone saying a word of encouragement; a song you heard or something you read. Perhaps you were driving on the road and switched lanes, only to realize that that change of lanes spared your life from a terrible car accident. The Lord orchestrates the circumstance of our life with His own hand. We need to develop a habit of seeing the invisible with the heart’s eye.

A couple of years ago, my wife, Gisela, was in our master bedroom doing some writing. She spends many hours sitting at the desk in our bedroom, quietly writing various pieces for the ministry. At this particular time, I was overseas in Asia visiting the mission fields. The morning was normal; she was busy writing and concentrating on her work when, all of a sudden, she felt an urge to get up from her chair and go to the kitchen to get a drink. She got up, walked to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Suddenly, she heard a loud explosion, as if someone had dropped a bomb into our bedroom. She ran back to see what had happened and discovered a large SUV in the middle of our bedroom.

Two teenagers had been driving on the road in front of our house, and for whatever reason, they had lost control of the vehicle. In full speed, the SUV crashed into our house, completely demolishing the brick wall and totaling the vehicle. Can you imagine what would have happened if Gisela had been sitting at her desk for just a few minutes longer? It would have been a whole different story. She would no longer be writing.

How wonderful it is to know that angels are watching over us. As the chorus goes, “His eyes are on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”5 But the question is this: Are we able to see His face, His eyes and His concern in events like these? Can we see the face of our Lord during tiny little conversations, in the breeze or in the flower, in the smile of a child or as we drive along the road? When we can’t see Him or feel Him, we should deliberately look for Him, to see His care and His presence all around us. And if you listen closely enough, if we quiet ourselves long enough, as Shasta did, we too will realize He has been right alongside us the whole time. And that will change everything for us.

Our problem often is, like Elijah, we are trying to see the Lord and hear Him in the midst of huge events and experiences. But often, more than you realize, He will reveal Himself in a still, small voice and in so many tiny events and encounters. Most miss it. Keep your eyes and ears open—you will see Him and you will hear Him. For He Himself has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). And He always keeps His promises.

Notes:

1 C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1954).
2 Ibid, pp. 155–156.
3 Ibid, p. 157.
4 Ibid, p. 159.
5 Civilla D. Martin, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (1922).

© 2003by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

Point to Jesus

Seeing Him - KP Yohannan Books

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I heard it said one time, “The church is not here to meet the needs of the people, but to connect them to the only one who can.” How true that is.

Early one morning my telephone rang. The call was from the senior leader of our work in India. He called to speak with me about a problem he was having with an older staff member. This particular man had served with our ministry for quite some time and was responsible for overseeing a vital part of the ministry. However, a few days prior to this phone call, a younger brother was placed over the older staff member as his leader. And because this man was older and had been with the ministry longer, he would not submit to the younger man. He refused to carry on any work with a young man as his leader.

When I heard about the situation, I said to the senior leader, “Somehow, somewhere along the line, he has lost sight of Jesus. Now he is looking at his ability, his skill, his position and his wisdom. Somehow he thinks that he should be above this younger leader.” I continued, “This didn’t happen overnight. It is only that it just came into the light through this situation.”

I continued to speak to the senior leader, saying, “I will pray with you, and you should gather the rest of the leaders together and pray as well. I encourage you to re-read Watchman Nee’s book Spiritual Authority and look in the Scriptures at the life of Korah, Saul and others. Look at the fall of Lucifer. See how these didn’t submit and how they resisted God’s authority. And then, in contrast, see Jesus. See how the Son of Man lived and died in total surrender to the Father and to those the Father put over Him.”

Then I said, “After that, call the older brother and share with him the things you read. Always remember, you must point him to Jesus. If you can paint Jesus before him, you will have succeeded.

“Pray that he is able to see what you are saying. Pray that he is able to see Jesus. Then give him the opportunity to be restored. Restoration is what we want. That is our goal. Always remember that if you have to err, err on the side of grace. But after you have pointed him to Jesus, if there is no repentance, then please ask him to leave. You have no other recourse.

“Even if you have to shut down the whole operation that he is in charge of, that won’t be a problem. There are other people who can step in to run it. Running that part of the ministry is not important compared to his following the Lord.”

And you know what? A few days later I got a message from the senior leader saying that the older man had repented. He was able to see Jesus, in His humility and submission, and the problem was solved. The answer is always Jesus.

The best thing we can do for anybody is to point them to Jesus. Only when we keep Jesus before us can we then live and work with one another in love and humility. But if we are not connected with Him, if we lose sight of Him, then we have thousands of reasons for disunity, fighting, discouragement and all kinds of problems.

Remember Job? God said he was the most righteous man in all the earth (see Job 1:8, 2:3). He endured horrible trials with no knowledge of what was going on behind the scenes. His wife and his friends didn’t help him. They didn’t point him to God; they only got him more confused. Job despaired of life because it seemed God had deserted him.

But then we see what pulled Job out of his despair. It says in Job 42:5–6 (NIV), “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Isn’t that interesting? Before Job had heard a lot about God, but now he saw Him. And when he saw Him, everything made sense. The questions stopped. The arguments with his friends stopped. The struggles stopped because Job saw Jesus.

The same thing happened with Isaiah. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he said, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). After seeing the Lord and repenting, Isaiah became the man God could use to speak to His people.

The best disciple, the most effective witness of Jesus, is one who points everybody not to himself, but to Jesus.

This is exactly what the Holy Spirit came to do—to point people to Jesus (see John 15:26). And all of creation—everything—points to Jesus. The entire Old Testament points to Jesus, while the New Testament is a fulfillment of who He is. The Bible is not a book full of doctrines; it is a book full of Jesus.

Why do we point to Jesus? When I see Jesus, I see the truth—that I am nothing. He is all there is. I have nothing to offer you, I have nothing to offer the beggar and I have nothing to offer the lost world, except Jesus. Paul asks a very good question in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “And what do you have that you did not receive?” Think about that for a moment. Paul goes on in that same verse to say, “Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” That understanding helps us to always look to Jesus and point others to Him. We have nothing but what we receive from Him.

This is our purpose in studying the Word—seeing Jesus so that we might point others to Him. You can study book after book of the Bible and still never see Jesus. A friend of mine once said, “You will never find more carnal, self-centered, ungodly people than you find among the so-called fundamental, Bible-studying, Bible-memorizing group.” They know the whole Bible, but somehow they miss Jesus. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39–40).

So, I encourage you, when you read the Bible see if you can find Jesus. Don’t study just to know how to do something. Don’t study to find another rule you can follow. Some people are not really following Jesus; they are following the teachings of Jesus. That is the problem with us many times. But study to see Jesus. Desire to see Jesus.

Notes:

1 Watchman Nee, Spiritual Authority (New York: Christian Fellowship Publications, 1980).

© 2003 by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

He Is Our Hope

Seeing Him - KP Yohannan Books

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Some years ago, a young man came to our office in India for a job interview. I will never forget that evening. This man was seeking to join the staff and teach at one of our Bible schools. He was an extremely brilliant man, having received his doctorate in biblical studies from a very prestigious university.

As we sat down to talk, the first thing he said was, “Brother K.P., I am spiritually bankrupt.” This startled me! This was the first time meeting him, and he says “I am spiritually bankrupt”? He went on to explain the experience he had gained and the positions he had held in the past, listing the salary for each. Then he said, “Brother K.P., I could do a good job here for you. But please don’t take me because I can do a good job. Take me because I need help. I know all the doctrines, the Greek and Hebrew; whatever you want, I can teach it. But my heart is empty. I feel if I can be here, I will find Jesus again. And if I can be a help to you in the process, I would be glad to teach here.” With all his knowledge about the Bible and theology, he was still far away from the Lord Himself.

Only in Him

The truth is, we can learn all the doctrines and be fundamental in our convictions yet still live with emptiness and be spiritually blinded. The way back begins with taking that first step-confessing our spiritual need. Through honesty and repentance, we are given clear eyes to see the glory of Jesus once again, and the veil that clouds our hearts is removed (see 2 Corinthians 3:16).

Our survival and hope are not based on how much we can do or how well we can obey. Our hope is not in how many verses we can memorize or how much doctrine we know. Our survival is only in the person of Jesus. In Him is everything we need. He is our hope.

To the one who has lost sight, slipped or failed, Jesus is waiting to receive him. He does not say, “Okay, tell me about all the sins you have done.” In Luke 15, the father never asked of the prodigal son, “Where did you go? How much money did you spend? How many sins did you commit? What did you do? Tell me before I make a decision about what to do next.” No. There was not a word said along those lines. When the son came back, it was all embracing, consolation and joy.

Who Has Not Failed?

The question is, who has not failed? We all are weak, failing people. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,1 Edmund, one of the four children who first entered the land of Narnia through the wardrobe, falls prey to the evil White Witch who turned the glorious Narnia into a cold land of constant winter. Edmund had betrayed his fellow companions, and the Deep Magic of Narnia said that all those who were traitors rightfully belonged to the White Witch, who now planned to kill Edmund. The only thing that could reverse the law of Deep Magic was a sacrifice of blood.

But Aslan, the great Lion who sang Narnia into existence, came to defeat the White Witch and kill all who belong to her—which now included Edmund, whom Aslan loves. Some alternative had to be reached to save the life of Edmund.

In private, Aslan speaks with the White Witch and chooses to give up his life as a ransom so that Edmund may live.

The scene is very moving and graphic as Aslan walks alone to the stone table and submits himself, without any resistance, to be tied up before his enemies. They mock and jeer, clipping off his long mane and beating him. Finally, after all this, the long dagger of the White Witch is thrust into Aslan’s heart, and he dies.
This was the only way Edmund’s betrayal could be reversed and his life spared. True, he had failed and betrayed, and a price must therefore be paid. Aslan became that ransom for the life of Edmund.

Didn’t Aslan—being all-knowing and all-powerful—know that Edmund had fallen prey to the White Witch and was a betrayer? Surely Aslan knew. He knew all that Edmund had done and all that he would do in the future. But Aslan also knew that the only solution was to sacrifice his own life on the stone table.

You see, this is a picture of Christ dying on the cross for our sins. Once while counseling a brother who was in despair because of the sins and the failures in his life, I reminded him, “When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, He forgave all your sins, no matter what you have done or how you have failed. The sins you commit now and everything that you will ever do until the last second of your life here on earth—all of it is covered by Christ.”

When we fail, the Enemy often uses those times to fill our hearts with guilt and pain. This can even drive some people to the verge of suicide. But there is power in recalling what Christ has done and why He did it! It was His love for us—His everlasting love (see Jeremiah 31:3). If only we would turn our eyes away from ourselves and our failures and see Christ.

Jesus died on the cross not only to take away our sins and to spare us from hell, but also to continue to deliver us from the power of Satan. He does that through teaching us and training us to grow and become strong through failures and struggles.

How incredibly significant are the sacrifice and price our Lord Jesus paid for our lives to be ransomed from the Enemy. But how sad for us to so often forget it, especially in the times we need to remember it the most.

If ever we find that we have lost sight of Jesus or have failed in some way, we can always turn back to Him. Even if the whole world writes you off because of your failures, Jesus is always there. Jesus didn’t give up on Peter even when he denied Him three times. In fact, even before Peter messed up, Jesus had prayed for his restoration. Jesus told Peter, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32).

Even when everyone around picks up stones to hurl at you, Jesus will be there. He will never join in the condemning. He will say, like He said to the woman caught in adultery and about to die at the hand of her accusers, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Notes:

1 C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1950).

© 2003 by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.

Consider Him

“That . . . the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling . . .”  Ephesians 1:17–18

Seeing Him - KP Yohannan Books

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We are told in Hebrews 12:2–3 (NIV), “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

“Consider Him . . .” Those are powerful words, because at one time or another, we all grow weary. Our hearts so easily faint, and we find ourselves on that verge of giving up. No matter how great the accomplishments in your life are, how many degrees you hold, how many books you have read or how determined you are to persist to the end, losing heart comes to us all.

But there is a way to not lose heart. That is found in keeping Jesus before us, fixing our eyes on Him and considering Him. Following the Lord closely is the most precious thing in this life. And it is only in fixing our gaze on Him that we are able to endure whatever comes along.

Think about the disciples who followed Jesus. After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, severe persecution arose under the Roman emperor, Nero, in A.D. 54–68. Gladiators slaughtered hundreds of believers, many were fed to hungry lions and still others were crucified. Surely these believers must have prayed for God’s intervention, but the persecution and suffering were not eliminated. How, then, were they able to endure such great opposition? Certainly this persecution would have been enough to turn away even the most devoted saint. But it didn’t happen. Why? Because their eyes were fixed on Jesus. Church history tells us that in the midst of such tremendous persecution the believers would encourage one another to “remember Jesus!”

When Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was being stoned to death, Acts 7:55–56 (NIV) tells us that he “looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ ” It was in seeing Jesus that Stephen found the strength not only to live for His Savior, but to die for Him as well.

Notice that it was not the great need to get the Gospel to all people that gave Stephen the fortitude to continue even when persecuted. It was not the depravity of the lost that kept the disciples enduring until the end. It was only because of Jesus. The good work you are doing or the fruit you are seeing can never be enough to keep you going. Only in seeing Him will you find the strength to endure all things to the end.

Hundreds of times, by different reporters, presidents and prime ministers from all over the world, Mother Teresa was asked the same question: “What makes you do what you are doing? How do you keep going?” Never was her answer, “There are so many lepers in India. There are so many poor people in India. The suffering and needs are so great.” No. Her answer was always the same. She would simply reply, “Because of Jesus.”

And this is how I want to encourage you also. In everything, at all times, look to Jesus. Come to Him and remember Him. I can say this to you because I have learned from my own experiences how easy it is to wander. How easy it is to get so caught up in all that happens in life, becoming sidetracked and losing our focus. But our hope and our life are in seeing Jesus.

He Is Our Rock

A sure guarantee to become discouraged and fail is to consider the circumstances you face. It was Peter whom Christ called to come and walk to Him on the water. And, considering Christ, Peter stepped out of the boat and onto the water—and began walking! But it is when he started to look around and see the raging waves that he began to sink. He simply could not accept that what he was doing was reasonable. And when he considered his circumstances, he began to sink.

This tells us that our circumstances, whatever they may be—friends or relatives rejecting or opposing you, health failing, business in trouble, people whom you trusted and looked up to no longer walking with God, the list can go on and on—can cause us to lose heart.

Remember Paul? Anyone reading the book of 2 Corinthians, even superficially, will be stunned by the persecution, difficulties and suffering Paul encountered in his life:

In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily . . .(2 Corinthians 11:23–28).

Humanly speaking, it is difficult to grasp or comprehend how a man could go on with this kind of intense suffering. Not only did he face this suffering from outsiders, but also from people who were very close to him, he experienced such rejection and loneliness. In the time of difficulties, most of his friends ran away (see 2 Timothy 4:10).

How on earth did Paul survive? The answer is given in 2 Corinthians 4:1—“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” That simply means the thing that kept Paul going, in spite of all the difficulties, was his constant consideration of the Lord Jesus Christ—for it was He who went before him, the one who was with him and the one who had called him. The very first thing Christ told Paul were the things that he must suffer for His sake (see Acts 9:16), and Paul never forgot that.

What kept John, Christ’s beloved disciple, from despair when he was exiled and all alone in a forgotten land on the island of Patmos? We read in the first chapter of the book of Revelation about John’s “Christ encounter.” In the midst of feeling forsaken and with every reason to be discouraged, we find John looking to Christ—and what a remarkable encounter he had!

We have the choice to deliberately think about the Lord in the moments our hearts begin to become overwhelmed with the circumstances of life. It is a choice we make and one that can eventually become a habit. In every situation, every day, in all things, let us consider Christ, who He is and His promises for us. For “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews13:8). He never changes. He who was able to keep Paul and John until the end is able to keep you as well. The only one whom we can draw strength from and depend on for all that we need is Jesus.

Our Answer

Matthew 24:12 says, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” This means that the discouragement we face and the way things go wrong all around us can become reasons for us to lose our attention and our affection toward Christ. And that becomes the reason for our downfall.

In reading Psalm 73, it’s almost as if you’ve opened the personal diary of a man struggling with this very issue. It speaks of how, when he looked around and saw the prosperity of the wicked, he almost lost his faith. He even came to the verge of denying God and walking away. But then, toward the end of the psalm, we read that when he came before the Lord and considered the Lord, he understood all things as they are. He cries out in the end, saying, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You” (Psalm 73:25).

The psalmist is essentially saying, “No longer do I desire the easy life of the wicked, their wealth or their seeming happiness. The only thing I desire on this earth is You, O Lord.” He looked to the heavens not to see what God could give him to make his life a little nicer. He looked to the heavens because he realized the Lord is the only one who matters. The most important thing and the only thing is to pursue the Lord Himself and gaze upon Him. Jesus is the answer for everything in this life.

This makes me think back to when I was in seminary 25 years ago. The blessings were many, and I am grateful for the godly professors I learned from. Those years were spent researching and gaining knowledge of the Scriptures. I studied Greek and Hebrew, philosophy and history, ancient culture and missions. It’s an honest thing to say I was a very bright, very good student. But somehow, at the end of all my learning, spiritually I was dying.

I lost Jesus. I studied, researched and learned all about Him, but somehow I lost Him. It was at this same time, toward the end of my senior year, that I began pastoring a small church and preaching four times a week! That is not an exaggeration to prove my point. You may not hear this from other preachers, but honestly, I was losing Jesus even in the midst of much ministry. Sure, here and there I saw Him. Here and there I embraced Him. Here and there I wept before Him. But it was not a consistent thing. And I grew weary, wanting to give up the ministry the Lord gave me.

But I look back now and thank God for the few months of that “dark night” of my soul. It was during that time that I began to pursue and embrace the Lord again. I began living again and each day loving Him. He was no longer distant and far off, but near and continually before my eyes. I realized then, and still do today, that I have only one need. That need is Jesus.

That truth affects my relationships with the people around me as well. There is nothing that draws me close to someone except that he or she loves Jesus. It used to be that there were a thousand criteria I looked for in a person before I could accept them. I had my measuring scale upon which I weighed everyone. But now there is only one thing that matters: Does he or she love Jesus? No longer does it concern me if they use a different translation of the Bible. No longer does it matter if they subscribe to the doctrinal fine points that I believe. It doesn’t matter if they are conservative or liberal in this or that. It is no longer an issue of dress or speech or anything else. It is only an issue of Jesus. The older I get, the more and more I learn that there is nothing more important than Jesus Himself.

© 2003 by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.