Recently as I sat with Him seeking to gaze upon His glory (2 Cor. 3:18) Jesus spoke to my heart, “Stay under My gaze.” A rather interesting phrase. It was a phrase I had not heard before yet I recognized His voice and also realized a few days later it was the answer to a question I hadn’t asked. This approach is something Jesus did regularly in the gospels. The important part however is understanding what staying under His gaze means and the implications for our heart and life if we respond in obedience. At the same time I seek to test everything by His written word and the scriptures seem to teach that we are to gaze upon Him.
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. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)
However, implicitly, rather than explicitly, if we are gazing at Him then He is also looking at us. When I become aware of His focus upon me many times I quite literally start to feel like I am coming undone at some physical level and have to choose to not turn my face away, which I can only manage for a short time. However when we choose to stay under His gaze how does it affect our heart and life? The first effect is that if we stay under His gaze it means regularly turning our heart to Him throughout the day and being conscious of His gaze upon us. Secondly, we learn to lean more into His guidance in all that we do. The scriptural support for this injunction is found in the Psalms.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8 (NKJV)
Something to consider is that if Jesus is guiding us with His gaze we need to learn to discern His various gazes. If His eyes are like a flame of fire we are in trouble! Jesus heart is that we would learn whether He is with us encouraging, abiding, rebuking or a number of other responses. He calls all of us to pursue and understand His gaze and ways in our relationship with Him. In the midst of understanding this we in the modern North American church also need to understand that He is Lord and King, not a divine cheerleader. After all, the scriptures provide some sober New Testament warnings.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 (NKJV)
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29 (NKJV)
So let us embrace ‘reverence and godly fear’ as we stay under His gaze.
A closing thought. Something else I realized as I meditated upon this is that Jesus lived this way, staying under His Father’s gaze. I encourage you to search the gospels and see if this is so. A useful reflection on this as we near Good Friday is the lyrics in the song below, particularly the line I have highlighted.
How deep the Father’s Love for Us
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.
Stuart Townend 1995 Thankyou Music
How deep the Father’s Love for Us