By: Jenni Walker
“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a)
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During the recent 2016 Christmas season, I was sitting in the sunny breakfast nook of my kitchen meditating on Luke 2:25-38. This is the point in the Christmas story where Jesus has been born and His parents have “brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.” (v. 22) The verses that follow describe two individuals who have lived their lives looking for the coming Messiah, “the Lord’s Christ,” and devoting themselves entirely to serving God. Their names are Simeon and Anna.
Simeon is described as a man who “was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Christ (v. 26). When Joseph and Mary brought the infant Jesus into the temple to present Him to the Lord, Simeon took baby Jesus in his arms and praised God saying, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of [or ‘in the sight of’] all peoples…” (Luke 2:29-31)
Anna was an elderly woman “who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Luke explains that when Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus were in the temple, she too came “in that instant [and] gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” (v. 37b-38)
When I read these passages from Luke 2, I am almost overwhelmed by the looking, the longing, the wholeheartedness of both Simeon and Anna. It was not purely out of duty but out of a deep love for the Lord that they oriented their entire selves around serving Him and looking for HIM, the Lord’s Christ (v. 26).
LOOKING UNTO JESUS
We as Christians today, who have been saved from our sins by grace through faith in Jesus, have, in a sense “found Jesus.” Do we, like Simeon and Anna, need to still be “looking for Him?” Actually, the themes of looking, and of seeking, are emphasized again and again in the Bible. Let’s take a look at several of those Scriptures together:
Heb. 12:1-2…Throw off everything that hinders…looking unto Jesus!
James 1…Seeking God’s wisdom and growing in maturity.
Phil. 1:27, 2:14-16…Standing fast; striving; shining like stars in the universe as we hold fast to the Word of life – these words are consuming words, ones of intentional living, pursuing, and living out a holy calling.
Psalm 119:2…“Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!”
Psalm 119:10-11…“With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”
Psalm 119:16…“I will meditate on Your precepts and look into Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statues; I will not forget Your word.”
The story of Jesus’ birth is filled with people who were seekers, looking for Jesus and the fulfillment of the promises of God – the shepherds, wise men, Simeon, Anna, even Mary and Joseph. As these Scriptures demonstrate, we, too, are called to be a seekers, “looking unto Jesus” in all that we do through the work of Christ in us. We can do this by being obedient to the Word of God, to spend time in relationship with Him, and to do everything as unto Him!
Some practical ways to look to Him in our everyday lives are to serve others as unto the Lord (Matthew 25:34-40), to work heartily as “for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23), and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” each day with His help and grace (Romans 13:14). As we look unto Jesus, even amidst the many demands, distractions, and the ups and downs of life, He will graciously and lovingly guide, mold, and direct us according to His plans and purposes from the inside out – and to His glory!
LOVING AND LONGING
As we have seen together, the Bible emphasizes over and over again how we are to be looking unto Jesus and seeking Him in all that we do. But there is one more kind of “looking” that we as Christians are to grow in. Let’s revisit Simeon and Anna in the temple once more. In one sense, we as Christians do not need to be looking as they did for His arrival because His death and resurrection have already been accomplished! But there is also a second arrival that the Bible speaks of:
2 Timothy 4:6-8…Keeping the faith; loving and longing for Jesus’ appearing!
2 Peter 3:10-14…”What manner of persons” ought we to be in “holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth…therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things…”; being diligent as we look forward to these things!
In our time here on this earth, we are to grow in longing “for His appearing.” As 2 Peter 3 reminds us, “what manner of persons” we are to be in “holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God”! Let us not forget that this world is temporary – one day, we will actually be with our Lord!
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 describes the second coming of Christ saying, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” One day, we will physically be with our Lord! The closer we draw to Him in our time here on earth, the more we will grow in our longing to actually be with Him. This world is temporary, but our home with the Lord is eternal!
In closing, our response to the salvation we have through the work of Jesus Christ ought to be one of a seeking heart, a looking heart, a fully-surrendered heart. Let’s take our eyes off of ourselves and fix them upon Jesus. Like the examples of Simeon and Anna, does your life demonstrate that you love Him and long for Him? Take some time this week (even today!) to consider what it means to be “looking” unto Jesus Christ as the Author and Perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2)! Wholehearted women of God, we are so excited for what our Lord is doing in your lives. We are praying for you, and we know that He is faithful, so worthy of our trust, and that “He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
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