Author J Sidlow Baxter tells the true story of a lady and her young daughter who visited him. They arrived late one night and the girl was put to bed already asleep.
When she woke next morning, she looked around. Beyond the foot of her bed was a dressing table and mirror. Reflected in the mirror was a picture of Jesus which hung behind the bed. The little girl sat up in bed to get a better view of the picture of Jesus and as she did so, her body blocked the reflection and she could only see herself in the mirror.
The girl lay down and sat up again a couple of times. Then she called out to her Mother, “Mummy! I can see Jesus! But when I can see Jesus, I can’t see myself. When I see myself, I can’t see Jesus!”
How true this is for Christians. It is only as we look to Jesus that we know victory in our lives. When we look to self and think of ourselves and our comfort zone and our desires, we don’t see Jesus and His will for us. We follow our own way and end up in trouble.
The apostle Peter found this. He is the only man in world history (apart from Jesus Christ) who has walked on water – water in the middle of the sea, in a stormy situation. Peter was walking on the water towards Jesus, but when Peter took his eyes off the Lord and noted the boisterous winds, and his precarious situation, he began to sink. Then, just as He will always do for His children, Jesus reached out and lifted him and they walked back to the boat together, walking on the water.
All Christians, I am sure, will acknowledge the numerous times that we have taken our focus away from the Lord, and gone our own way, pleasing ourselves and headed for failure. Thankfully, we will also praise Him for the outstretched hand to lift us back and set us on the right way when we turn back to Him.
“When I see myself, I can’t see Jesus, but when I see Jesus, I can’t see myself.”
For those who are not Christians, this account has the same message in another way.
# When we focus on ourselves we do not see the plight of the many in this world who need our help.
# When we focus on ourselves we do not see the plight of our neighbours and those we meet, who need an encouraging word, a smile and a helping hand.
# When we focus on ourselves we do not think of those we know for whom a simple telephone call would make a difference in their day.
# When we focus on ourselves we do not see the needs of our own family members: that one who needs to talk and to unburden; that one who craves a little time; that one who needs loving advice; that one who needs to feel accepted and wanted.
“When I see myself, I don’t see the needs of others.”