"Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken (enliven) thou me in thy way" (Psalm 119:37).
God's enlivening way is the Lord Jesus Christ, who declared, "I am the way" (John 14:6). His enlivening process is redirecting our focus from emptiness to the person and work of our Savior. Who is He? What has He done? What is He doing? And what will He be doing forevermore for us, and in us? The Psalmist's prayer is therefore perfectly suited to the born again Christian as we seek to walk in the spiritual abundance provided to us in the Lord Jesus.
Our flesh is prone to behold vanity, that is, to believe that things or persons other than Christ can be our life. As Abraham once said to Sarah, "My soul shall live because of thee," so are we tempted to look for life in people who cannot provide it, or in inanimate objects, or in experiences that may please for a moment, but which too soon pass into little more than fond memory, or even forgottenness (Genesis 12:13). There is only one true life, as God defines life - "This life is in His Son" (I John 5:11). All believers know this to one degree or another, but all are nevertheless tempted to lay hold on dead and dying things in the hope that we can squeeze just a bit of life from them. But there is no life in them because there is no life in anyone or anything other than the One of whom Scripture declares... "He is thy life" (Deuteronomy 30:20).
The Psalmist was wise. He knew that he could not overcome the lust of the flesh by his own devices and determinations. So he prayed, asking God to redirect his focus from death to life. We must join him by consistently asking our Heavenly Father to turn our attention more and more to the person and work of the Lord Jesus. He is already working in us to do so, but our request is a vital part of the process whereby we are actively engaged in true and living relationship with God. Being aware of both our fleshly tendency to distraction and God's faithful working to focus our gaze toward life will foster such prayer in us. The result will be a life that is more truly lived because we are looking away from the Sarahs of our lives unto the Savior of our life. "My expectation is from Him" (Psalm 62:5).
"Heavenly Father, we grow more and more aware that our flesh seeks life in vanity. Too often we have wandered down its hopeless paths, and met the imposters who await us there. But deep in our hearts, we know, we know that You are our life. And so we join the Psalmist in his wisdom. Turn our eyes from gazing upon emptiness. Turn them toward the Lord Jesus so that we may truly live. Thank You, Father, in the name of our Lord we pray, Amen."
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).