The next posture I want to look at is one Jesus used when He spoke to the Father.
And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.
So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”
And even Jesus’ most remembered prayer was prayed in this fashion, what we call the “High Priestly Prayer in John 17 begins this way in verse 1,
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
What is the attitude being expressed in looking up to Heaven? The first thing it conveys is an intimate relationship with God, appreciating that He is The Father, Good and Loving and in love with us. Jesus prayed looking up to His Dad, He knew God perfectly because from the beginning He was with God and was God (John 1:1). He looked to His Father and spoke to Him directly.
Jesus told us we too have the authority and the right to speak to God directly because God loves us. In John 16:26-28 Jesus said,
In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
Looking at the one you are speaking to means you know with whom you are talking. Lifting your eyes up to Heaven says you know you are having a conversation with God and acknowledge His position as Lord. It is a posture of beseeching. Psalm 123:1-2 says,
To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.
This posture communicates faith and assurance in understanding who God is. It is a posture of praise. Psalm 121 reads,
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Looking up to Heaven, looking up to the mountains as you spend time with the Lord gives you the opportunity to reflect on who He is, how mighty He is, and the majesty of Creation; it gives you even more to praise Him for. Isaiah 40:25-26 reads,
To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
and because he is strong in power,
not one is missing.
Looking up says, I am not ashamed. Most of us quote Romans 8:1 without a problem.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
But so many Christians trudge in shame and guilt rather than walk in the freedom of our forgiveness and righteousness. Looking up declares your release from the chains of sin, slavery, and fear. How glorifying to God, how beautifully that position exalts and extols Jesus! Psalm 34:4-5 says,
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
Lifting up your head does something for you too. This act, at a time when you might want to close your eyes and lower your head, gives you confidence and opens your eyes to the Lord, His glory, and even purpose. So often, when I have faced my worst trials, God has told me to open my eyes and look around me. He focuses my attention on others. Looking up focuses our attention on Christ. Stephen was a perfect example of this. Imagine what he was going through, he was being pelted with stones, being murdered in an incredibly painful, slow, and cruel death. But he kept preaching God’s Word through that ordeal. How could he manage that? He was filled with the Holy Spirit who kept His eyes open and looking up. Acts 7:55-60 records Stephen’s death after he had preached a bold sermon.
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen glorified Jesus even as he died. You and I can glorify Him as we live if we, like Stephen keep our eyes on Him. We can reveal the closeness and affection of our relationship with God just as Jesus did, by looking up to Him. Believer, you can have the intimacy with the Father as Jesus does. You can speak to Him looking up into heaven showing your confidence in Him, not bearing the shame of your past, and knowing your God loves you and knows you. I pray that you will know this and I pray that this is another posture you can take as you enjoy time with your God.