“20/20 in 2020”
The Most Important New Year’s Resolution
Any Jesus Follower Could Ever Make
As we begin the decade of the 2020s, I want to share with you the same challenge I brought this New Year’s Eve to 150 brothers in Christ who are currently inmates in a famous maximum-security prison. It set that company of Jesus followers on fire and gave them a whole new sense of purpose for the year ahead. It can do the same for you.
This blog post is about more than a New Year’s RESOLUTION. It is about a New Year’s REVOLUTION designed to transform your daily walk with Christ throughout this year—and for the rest of your life.
Jesus Is the Masterpiece.
Now He Wants to Be Your Light and Your Eyes Too.
To fully enjoy the magnificence of the portraits and landscapes in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, you need at least two resources. First, someone needs to turn on the lights. In the dark, all the paintings look the same because you can’t even see them to start with!
But secondly, you need a good pair of eyes. Best of all, you need what optometrists refer to as “20/20 vision.” If you have 20/120 or 20/160 vision, your ability to appreciate acclaimed works of art is greatly diminished. If you are totally blind, then your ability to enjoy these beautiful paintings is essentially eliminated. Standing in the lighted viewing room, you need eyes that can clearly explore every vivid detail of the masterpieces before you.
Similarly, we should regard our Lord Jesus in these three ways: (1) He himself is God’s MASTERPIECE, meant to occupy our full attention. As well, (2) he is the LIGHT by which we are enabled to see the beauty of his glory. And (3) he also must give us the EYES we need to view him with precision, clarity, and full appreciation. Let’s look at the three aspects of this analogy in more detail.
1. Jesus himself is God’s grand MASTERPIECE. The Father has exalted his Son to be viewed and valued by all the saints, all the holy angels, and all of the cosmos.
“[I]n these last days, God has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1, emphasis added).
Our Lord Jesus is sort of like all of the magnificent works of art of all the ages summed up into one spectacular person in the fullness of his supremacy.
One day, for sure, “every eye will see him” (Revelation 1). But the Father wants you and me to start gazing on him right now as we “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12).
2. At the same time, Jesus is the LIGHT the world needs in order to see him (as he said more than once).
To see him is to see God (John 14). To come to him is to bring everything else with us into the light (Ephesians 4). To walk with him in the light that he has become for us is to maintain constant fellowship with both the Father and the Son (1 John 1). As one gospel puts it:
In him [Jesus] was LIFE and that life was the LIGHT of humankind. And this light continues to shine in the darkness, but the darkness has never put it out (John 1, emphasis added).
Bottom line: Jesus is not only God’s everlasting MASTERPIECE (and our everlasting Master, as a result) but also he offers to become for us the LIGHT that day by day makes visible to us, by God’s Word and God’s Spirit, all the wonders of who he really is today.
3. However, in equal measure, Jesus must become for us the NEW EYES we need to see what his light reveals of his spectacular supremacy. Let’s dig deeper into this third metaphor.
God Is Ready to Give Anyone 20/20 Vision
Every year, I get an eye exam. In the past three years, however, my eye doctor has remarked that, to her surprise, my eyes are actually growing stronger, contrary to how it usually happens as we age! This fall, she suggested that I am so close to 20/20 eyesight that I really don’t need to depend on my contact lenses anymore.
I have no explanation for this phenomenon apart from God’s grace.
But this much I also know: If this kind of dramatic reversal can happen to the physical eyeballs of a mortal man, then surely it is no hard thing for God to restore for any Jesus follower a vision of their reigning Redeemer that is pure, clear, sharp, wide-open, and unimpeded.
Paul knew this. That is why he offered this prayer for new eyes for the Ephesian congregation—a prayer that applies to all Christians at all times, including you:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1, emphasis added).
So, how is it with the “eyes of your heart” right now?
Scripture is clear all the way through the Bible that Paul’s prayer for us to have a stronger vision for Jesus’ glory has been God’s desire for his people from the beginning. He wants that for you. Consider these few examples:
- God forced Jacob to wrestle all night with him (Genesis 32). But afterward, Jacob called the spot “Peniel” (which in Hebrew means “The Face of God”) because Jacob said he had finally seen God in a new way, like being face-to-face with him. That is precisely why God initiated the match in the first place.
- Moses found renewed strength to lead a rebellious nation through their wilderness wanderings after Moses cried out for help. God answered by giving him new eyes to see his presence and his glory (Exodus 34).
- Full of fear about the future when the 50-year reign of Uzziah came to an end, Isaiah suddenly had portrayed before him the majesty of the true King, high and lifted up. With those new eyes, he offered himself to serve God at any cost, without fear (Isaiah 6).
- For Job, new eyes were given him out of a lengthy season of great suffering. But in the end, Job declares in chapter 42 that it was worth it all because out of his agony, he gained new eyes to “see” God, not just “hear” about God.
Jesus: Heaven’s Supreme Optometrist
But God’s primary and ultimate strategy for giving his people 20/20 vision of his glory is to make JESUS not only our healer but also the one who becomes the actual new eyes we so desperately need. Today, in much greater ways, Jesus wants to fulfill and fill full in our lives all of the accounts of God giving new eyes to the Old Testament believers.
Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13). In John 9, after healing a physically blind man, he proclaimed he had come so that “those who are blind might see.” It’s no different today. In his inaugural address that launched his public ministry, Jesus said the Spirit of God had empowered him to “give sight to the blind,” not just physically but spiritually (Luke 4).
Think of how the risen Savior ministered to the two disciples heading to Emmaus on the first Easter evening. In their seven-mile walk, he filled them with biblical teachings about the wonders of who he is so that their hearts were on fire. Then he gave them new eyes internally so that their external eyes were “opened,” and they “recognized him.” He wants to do the same for all of us today.
In fact, Jesus’ heart is set on the ultimate “new eyes in our hearts” that we’ll receive when he returns in glorious triumph to reign openly and forever. As he faced the cross, this was the burden of his prayer in the upper room when he asked the Father:
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 (John 17, emphasis added).
That prayer will be fulfilled! Here’s your destiny in the new heaven and earth:
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will SEE his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22, emphasis added).
Giving us new eyes to see clearly what his light reveals—this remains Jesus’ passion for us.
This was the great need of the Christians who gathered in first-century Laodicea (Revelation 3). Smugly, they had concluded that they enjoyed perfect spiritual eyesight. But Jesus told them that actually they were totally blind when it came to grasping who he really is and what he is all about. That’s why their Savior advised them to “buy from me eye salve to put on your eyes so that you may see.” He promised that as they opened their doors to him once again, this loving “Optometrist” would “come in and dine” with them, face-to-face, eye-to-eye.
So, Why Not Get Yourself Some King Jesus Glasses?
As I describe in my latest book, CHRIST IS NOW!, we ALL need the larger, sharper, more thrilling outlook that comes through wearing “King Jesus Glasses.” Here’s a part of what I wrote there:
Let’s talk vision.
The fact is that the time is long overdue for the Church to set itself about the task of recovering a thoroughgoing King Jesus-sized vision.
It’s time we get ourselves refitted with the eyewear many of us have misplaced, often inadvertently. Or maybe no one ever gave us the right pair of glasses in the first place.
I’m talking about our very own “King Jesus Glasses”—spiritual spectacles to correct the all too prevalent shortsightedness that keeps many believers from seeing more clearly our Royal Redeemer for who he really is: high and lifted up; seated at the helm of the universe; ruling triumphantly at this very moment from the center of God’s throne; Head of the Church; Lord and Master of all who trust in him.
Once you get hold of a pair of King Jesus Glasses, however, it changes the way you look at everything!
These glasses are a unique pair of invisible bifocals designed to equip Christ followers to view reality (including ministry) in two essential directions at the same time.
First, these sacred lenses serve to provide an uncommonly lofty view of our Lord Jesus himself, helping Christians survey with greater clarity all he embodies as the unparalleled, unrivaled King of kings.
But, concurrently as bifocals, they are designed to equip us to see all the rest of life through the wonders of the lordship of Jesus—interpreting the world around us, and more specifically the entire Christian life, based on how the ascended Son of God is manifesting himself daily as mediatory monarch over every aspect of who we are and what we’re about.
Steps You Can Take in A.D. 2020
to Gain a Christ-Focused 20/20 Vision
1. Give yourself an “eye exam.” Do it this way: Take just five minutes to write down everything you can list about who Jesus is
- TO you (how you see him as the person of God’s Son)
- FOR you (how you see his saving work for you from Incarnation to Ascension)
- OVER you (where you see the impact of his kingdom reign)
- BEFORE you (where you see him leading you)
- WITHIN you (what you see him doing to transform you)
- THROUGH you (how you see him minister to others by using you)
- UPON you (where you see him taking you deeper and further in your walk with him)
OK, your five minutes are up! Look at what’s written on your paper so far. You may be slightly shocked at how meager the list is. This initial “exam” convinces most of us how much more of the glory of Christ we all still need to discover and explore.
Taking stock of our condition is the best first step toward getting new, Christ-focused eyesight.
Next, ask yourself: Where and how would I like to begin to improve and enlarge my vision of Christ?
2. Seek and speak daily. This is what I mean by this step: Every day, commit yourself to SEEK from God’s Word one fresh, exciting insight about Jesus (foreshadowed in the Old Testament or fully expressed in the New Testament). Then SPEAK it to others—on a phone call, by email, in conversation, by text or tweet.
Those two actions combined—seek and speak—when completed daily, will sharpen your own vision of Christ very quickly. Guaranteed!
3. Prepare for a total eye transplant. That’s the most promising step you can take. Why? Because this is precisely what the Holy Spirit has come to give all of God’s people—to transplant “Heaven-crafted eyeballs” into our hearts that are able to behold the living, reigning Christ so that the glories of who Jesus is today fill your vision as a way of life.
Pray out Paul’s heart cry in Philippians 3 before God’s throne: “Oh, that I may know him!” Make this request part of your regular prayer agenda.
Get your daily prayer life in step with Paul’s request in Ephesians 1. Pray that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened in order that you might know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Reflect on and then pray every day for one week the words of the well-known Scottish hymn, sung around the world:
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Don’t Make a Resolution.
Instead, Unleash a Revolution!
If you embrace the motto “20/20 in 2020,” this will become nothing short of revolutionary in your life over the next 12 months.
Wait until you compare the way you see Jesus on January 1, 2021, versus how you saw him January 1, 2020. You’ll be astonished at how radically your walk with him has been transformed!
To that end, right now, take another 90 seconds to view this inspiring video clip. It’s all about getting King Jesus Glasses. Let it begin the launching of a Christward revolution in 2020 in your life.
Then, write down on an index card the simple motto below—as your goal and your passion for the coming year. Place it where you’ll see it every day, such as in your Bible or on your bathroom mirror. Share the motto with your family or friends, explaining why it is so meaningful for you, maybe in an email or text. Day by day, keep declaring:
“20/20 in 2020!”
As we walk with King Jesus throughout the next twelve months, may we grow to “see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, day by day” (Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253).
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com.