"...living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers." (Acts 9:31)
"Daddy, I can see me in your eyes." These were the words of one my children when he was only four as he was intently focused on my face with my cheeks in his hands. "How do you look?" was my question in reply. "Good." His answer to me was short, simply, wonderfully profound.
With his hands firmly on the contours of my face, he was focused. I'm not sure he originally knew what he was doing. But he had a habit. His habit was to do whatever necessary to get into my space. Sitting in my recliner reading a book, I would be suddenly interrupted by this young one. My space was not my own. He wasn't obnoxious about it. He'd get close, slide his head under my arm and some how quietly wiggle his way into my lap. He'd just lie there for a moment, and then he'd turn upward, grab my face, and look into my eyes. When he was focused on my face, he could see himself as I see him. The increase of his own confidence, self-esteem, and sense of how I value him increases with every encounter. His focus is not on himself. It's on me. It's on my face.
Acts 9 gives a glimpse of the Church of the first century. Unlike many churches of our current culture, they were not focused on the latest and greatest programs, gimmicks, bells & whistles, or church growth strategies. They were simply focused on the face of God. They were enthralled in living in the fear of the Lord. He was all that mattered. It wasn't about how they looked in the eyes of others around them. In fact, they were looked with disdain by most people around them. They were seen as a threat, as a cult, as something to be dealt with.
Neither was there focus on how they looked in their own eyes. Pride and arrogance had no place in their goal of living in a way that honored and glorified the name of Jesus. It was not about them. It was about Him. It was about how they looked in His eyes. When there focus on Him was in line and in tune, that's when true growth began to happen.
When we focus on ourselves, we are limited to what we see. When we are focused on His face, our limits are surpassed and we begin to see what He sees. Living in the fear of the Lord is about being so in awe at His presence and being overcome with a passion that seeks to invade His space. We are no longer content to be self-reliant. Rather, we want to be so close that we find ourselves in His lap, with our hands upon the face of God, and looking intently into His eyes. What we see through His eyes is really all that matters. That's when we begin to see the increase in the areas that we are desperate to see something change.
The question to be answered is simple. Whose eyes are focused on seeing through? Don't settle for being focused on yourself. You are limited. You can only do so much. The more you try to rely only on you or on other "limited" people, the more unfilled and empty you will find yourself. Go ahead. Get closer and closer to the presence of God. He won't deny you. Climb up in the lap of the very definition of "Father." It's OK. Place your hands on His face. Look into His eyes. Do you see you? Now you see what He sees. It looks good. Allow that truth to be the motivation in all that you do. The change you want to see in your life will only happen as you live in the fear and recognition of the awesomeness of God, and when you choose to focus on His face.