During a recent Sunday morning worship service, we sang “Turn Your Eyes.” But as we sang, I began to weep. I sensed God was speaking to me. You may ask, “How does Al know it was God?” I have walked with the Lord for over 60 years. I have learned through trial and error how to discern the Lord’s voice. Two factors were evident to me during the worship service: First, I was in no way expecting to tear up. Second, when I shed tears unexpectedly, I have found it is of the Lord. Your experience might be different from mine. Remember: we all experience him uniquely.
The words to the song start out with an old chorus: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” and then move into a contemporary arrangement. I was moved by the chorus: “Jesus, to You we lift our eyes/Jesus our glory and our prize/We adore you, behold You, our Savior ever true/Oh, Jesus we turn our eyes to You.” It goes on to say, “Turn your eyes to the heavens/Our king will return for His own/Every knee will bow, every tongue will shout/All glory to Jesus alone.”
I write this post as a confession, in the hope that it might stimulate other men to see God’s faithful hand in their journey. God does not want us to abandon our post in the coming battle. I’d like to share three reflections with you:
First, when we sang “Turn your eyes upon Jesus,” the song took me back to the early days after my conversion at the California Lutheran Bible School from 1960 to 1962. Those were foundational years in my spiritual formation. My confession is this: I have lost my first love… “Yet I hold this against you. You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Rev 3:4-5).
When the above scripture reads, “Do the things you did at first,” I confess that the enthusiasm and excitement of those early days has waned. I now see that my life must be all for Jesus. I have let spiritual practices, theology, and my spiritual improvement projects get in the way of my first love. I just need to seek to know Jesus better (John 17:3).”
Secondly, I have come back full circle to my roots, which are in the warm-hearted, evangelistic movement of the Lutheran church. I belong to a church of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations. We are part of the revival movements within the Lutheran tradition. I have spent much time “tasting” the rich spiritual fruit of other movements and traditions. But God has brought me back home to my roots.
Thirdly, I must be willing to speak the name of Jesus in a culture that is fast becoming an “antichrist” culture. This has happened throughout history in cultures that have forsaken the Lord. I John warns us, “Children, time is just about up. You heard that Antichrist is coming. Well, they’re all over the place, antichrists everywhere you look. That’s how we know that we’re close to the end” (I John 2:18 MSG).
I share this confession with you because the enemy wants you to become lukewarm or even deny the Lord, like Peter did. But we need to sing, “Jesus, to You we lift up our eyes.” With the Psalmist we make it our confession. “Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2 NLT).