Focus on Jesus: The Doorway to Transformation Jill Weber - 2 Jan 2019

We're kicking off the year with a brand new blog series, learning from the global 24-7 Prayer community how to focus and fix our eyes on Jesus at the start of a fresh new year: 

A New Year brings reflection and resolution.  We look back, we look forward.  We assess what is working in our lives and what is not.  We make lists. Gonna give up that extra slice of cake. Join a gym.  Start a hobby.

It’s a bit like taking our car into the garage; we want our lives to work better, to run smoothly.  So we tinker, we make adjustments.

The problem is - we’re not machines, as we’ve been subtly enculturated to believe.  Greater efficiency or better mileage is not going to give us the life that we’ve always wanted.

Instead of merely making a list - tinkering with the engine - what might happen if we attended to the deeper longings of our hearts?   If we pull on our surface desires, they can lead us to the deeper parts of our hearts.

My whole life, I’ve struggled with weight and my relationship with food.  Every New Year’s resolution included my latest attempt to curb my eating or to try some new form of exercise.  One day I was chatting with my cousin Sharon, a fitness instructor, about my latest plans.  

“Do you realise how much strength is required to carry around an extra hundred pounds?” She asked. “Do you have any idea how strong you are?”  

Her words penetrated.  I felt exposed, vulnerable; but deeply seen.

“Do you have any idea how strong you are?”  

On the surface I wanted to shed the extra weight. But deeper down, I was longing for strength, for stability. For protection and invulnerability.

Our deep longings can feel wild and fierce. But this is exactly the place where transformation occurs.

What might happen if we stood before Jesus like Blind Bartimaeus – dishevelled and unrobed - feeling all the desperation that Bartimaeus felt. His deep longing for Jesus to come and do for him what he could not do for himself.  

What might happen if like Bartimaeus, we hear Jesus’ question to us: 

“What do you want me to do for you?” 

What might be the transformative possibility of that moment?

“The spiritual journey gets us in touch with desire,” says author Ruth Haley Barton. “Desire is the most powerful motivating force in the human experience”

So try an experiment. Make your list. What do you want to change about your life in this next year?  

Now ask yourself why. 

What is the deeper desire and longing? In the place of prayer, situate yourself before Jesus.  Fix your eyes on Him.  Answer His question,

“What do you want me to do for you?”  

Invite Him to come and do for you what you cannot do for yourself.  

If we can find the courage to name our truest, most authentic desires in Jesus’ presence, we have found the doorway to transformation. 

Jesus, I fix my eyes on you.
I bring myself before you and trust that you can bring transformation.
I choose to commit to you first – above all things. Above everything.
Come and do what I cannot do for myself.
Amen

This blog is part of our 2019 Focus on Jesus series.

Jill

Jill Weber

Jill is Director of Houses of Prayer at 24-7, married to Kirk and they have one daughter. Jill is the Global Convenor of the Order of the Mustard seed, trained spiritual director and a writer. She loves walks in nature and is passionate about helping others to be awake to the presence and activity of God.

 

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