In Numbers 21 in the Bible, we’re told that many of God’s people, as they were on their wilderness journey, were bitten by snakes and died. As they cried out to God, Moses heard, and fashioned a bronze snake on a long pole. He instructed that anyone who had been bitten should look at the bronze snake—and they would be healed.They were not to focus on their impairment or wound, although it really was a life threatening situation.
Interesting, Moses didn’t say, “Oh, it’s all your imagination. Don’t worry about it. It will go away.” No, he knew people were literally dying. Those who focused on their wounds died—but those who focused on the bronze snake, high and lifted up, were healed and lived.
Like the Israelites in the desert, we must set our gaze directly on Christ. Admittedly, when troubled by persistent struggles with sexual temptation and sin, we can be continuously de-railed. We can too easily lose hope and give up. This is where the evil one wants us.
But, we must believe that Jesus doesn’t sit idly by in heaven, but is continually present in us. He is the conqueror of sin and death— even in the battles for holiness that rage in our own hearts. When your conscience plagues you the most, or when you are in the most dire distress, you must grasp Christ in faith. It is in that moment that faith sees Jesus, the one who obeyed, suffered, died and rose again—and he did all that for our sakes! Heb. 12:1-2 is one of the most astonishing verses in all of Scripture: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What was the joy that Jesus looked forward to, so much so that he endured unbelievable suffering? It was you; it was his people whom he lived and died for, men and women being renewed by his grace and who one day will be fully restored, perfect in every way.
No matter what the distress and pain you are suffering through at this moment, that is something to look toward!
Where are the snakes in your life right now… those things that seem to threaten to rob you of life, of hope, of joy? What are the situations, circumstances, and struggles that keep you defeated? How are you dealing with them?
Where are your eyes turned to in those moments?