Where Christ Is
Lisa Cooke

John 17:24 NIV
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

2021 has come and with it, all the unknowns of a new year. The world learned in 2020 that things can change very quickly, sometimes without warning. I learned that there are hidden treasures tucked within difficult times, reminding us that God is faithful. What, of all the things we learned in 2020, will we be bringing with us into 2021?  Can we set a course through a new year in which we vividly learned in the year before that there are things we just cannot control?

I say “yes.”

Naturally speaking we may be inclined now to say no, after a year of the mandated closings of businesses and churches, schools and restaurants, mandated safety precautions personally and corporately. Outside we felt frustration with imposed restrictions, but inside we had a choice on what we would fix our gaze upon and from that, how we would respond.

Some would choose to protest what they felt was injustice, while others would focus more on learning how to be resourceful, flexible, patient, and faithful while maintaining their love walk in the Spirit of Christ all in the midst of navigating non-negotiables.

We learned that some fights were worth fighting while others were fights that no one could win. The Body of Christ, as well as the world in general, experienced how quick and easy it is to turn against each other because of differing opinions. It broke our hearts to see the enemy take advantage and bring a disunity in the Body at a time when we really needed to be on the same team. But I suppose that was to be expected. We are not ignorant of his devices, right? Or maybe we were.

2 Chronicles 20:12 always comes to mind when I am unsure of what course to take in a situation, or even for a new year. The confession “neither know we what to do” is followed by the decision “but our eyes are upon You.”

Using two translations, I try to adhere to Paul’s admonition to “set your sights on the realities of Heaven” (NLT) “where Christ is” (ESV) from Colossians 3:1.

Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17:24 that He wanted us to be where He is, to be able to see His glory. When we fix our eyes upon Jesus, we find ourselves where He is, and we position ourselves to see our present and even future circumstances in the light of His glory, a reality of Heaven.

While this may seem very mystical, there is a practical effect as we align ourselves with the will of God, with the heart of Jesus. In the presence of Jesus and seeing His glory we are quick to let go of anything that we recognize is displeasing to Him, or even slightly unnecessary in the scheme of things. From this place it is quite easy to forego our own plans for His plans, to change directions, preferences, and attitudes in order to be a part of what He wants to do on the earth. We are able to discern if what we want to see accomplished is what He wants to see accomplished. Most of us have lived long enough to know that these can be two different things.

The Good News Translation of Hebrews 12:2 says “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” I think I can speak for all of us that we have leaned heavily on our faith this year. Our faith obviously depends on whom we have believed, so being with Him where He is and seeing His glory is bound to increase the strength of our faith.

This new year, I have decided that I want my life to answer Jesus’ prayer in John 17:24. I want to spend the whole year (and the rest of my life) where He is, and to see His glory. To see the realities of Heaven which may often be in the unseen realm that we have been invited to fix our eyes upon (2 Corinthians 4:18.)

That which is eternal, versus that which is temporal. Which will we choose to set our eyes upon and live our life from beginning this new year?

In 2021, by His grace and mercy, you’ll find me where Christ is…