Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Several weeks ago, my husband asked a young Christian man to share with our congregation how he was coping with a live-in course he was doing with a Christian organisation. He comes from a difficult family background and only made a personal commitment to Christ about three years before when still a teenager. As he spoke, this previously retiring, rather inarticulate young man thrilled us as we saw the growth in this young man both physically and spiritually. One thing he shared with us was what God was currently challenging him to study and think through. Quite a few times since, his words have crept back into my mind and I have had to re-examine my own heart.

What does being a Christian really mean to you?

So, here I am, a woman who has personally loved My Lord as long as I can remember, asking myself this same question.

Is it just about the Christian lifestyle I have known all my life?
Is it about all the blessings God has poured out on me over all these many years? A loving mother and father – even though my Dad died when I was sixteen? A wonderful marriage and family of my own? Years of personal fulfilment in my nursing career – and now this writing career?

Is it all the joy, peace, blessings God has – and still is –pouring out for me to enjoy? Sure, there have been times of trial, times of anger, times of tears, times of trembling in concern, but I find myself thinking of all the things I have been given.

Is this what being a Christian really means to me? God’s blessings, His gifts?

And as I dwell on all I have been given to enjoy, my mind fills with the remembrance of that new Christian’s beaming face as he told us he was still working through all this. I know what being a Christian was delivering him from - a family life and circumstances so very, very different from my own story. You see his face shone as he added rather self-consciously that he was learning it was all about simply “fixing his eyes on Jesus.”

As my hair becomes greyer, as my strength becomes weaker with age, as I take longer and longer to do things I want and need to do, as I try to write that next manuscript, all that really matters is that I moment by moment “fix my eyes on Jesus.” The writer of Hebrews 12: 1,2 reminds us to “run the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...”

This race through life can take unexpected twists and turns. In all of life there will always be the mountains to climb, the pleasant as well as the shadowy valleys to journey through. How much more so this seems to be true for writers!
I need to not only “look” but fix my eyes constantly on Jesus who “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” is now seated at the right hand of God interceding for this child who loves Him.

The times I take my eyes from Him, they so quickly become blurred by things of this world. They may even be very pleasant things, not even wrong necessarily in God’s eyes, but if they are not where Jesus is and where He wants me to be at that time and in that place, they will take me away from my intimate, loving fellowship with Him.

So, time for a reality check. What does being a Christian – and especially a Christian writer - mean to you?
 Mary Hawkins is a best-selling inspirational romance author. A Queensland farmer’s daughter, she became a registered nurse before going to Bible College. She and her minister husband have three adult children and five grandchildren, enjoyed over 46 years of ministry including church planting in Australia, two years in England, three short term mission trips to Africa and now live in Tasmania, Australia's island state. Her 19th title, Justice at Baragula was released May, 2011
Read more about her books, her husband Ray and his devotional books on their blog from the website:
Mary Hawkins - and also on Facebook


  1. Mary, isn't it good we can communicate through blogging. Part of the joy of ageing in ministry is to see the change in lives as you depicted in that young man. May it continue in the lives of others


  2. Mary, this is a lovely, powerful blog. Thank you for sharing.
    For me, it was learning to stop intellectualising and just take that step off the cliff with trust in God. He has been beside me through all the travails. I don't look to him to solve my problems, just to give me the strength to bear them. He hasn't failed me yet.

  3. Hi Mary,
    Thanks for your blog. It is a daily challenge to just fix our eyes on Jesus. Thanks for the reminder.
    Jennifer Ann

  4. Hi Mary,
    This is a question with real depth and one that I have been asking myself over the last few weeks. My husband and I have recently become involved with a food share ministry and so we are constantly meeting people who are in desperate circumstances. To share with them at times is hard as my life circumstances have been so different to theirs. Having been a Christian since childhood and having had parents who taught us about Gods provision our 'tough' times have been the times when God was most real. Learning to fix my eyes on Jesus, to be able to share him with the people we are now ministering to is indeed a challenge. Thanks for your encouragement

  5. Alison, I'm afraid I do look to God to solve my problems - and sometimes I have to confess they are ones I've brought on myself when I looked away and did MY thing. But at the same time He has to give me the strength, the wisdom and faith to see Him in every situation of life and walk hand in hand with Him.

  6. Bev,it is so true that only as we have our gaze fixed on Christ can He reflect himself to the lives of those we have contact with. Our prayer has to be that they will not see us but Christ.

  7. Mary, thanks for your powerful and thought provoking post. I try to keep my focus on Him by reminding myself that I write for His glory, not my own, which puts everything into perspective.

  8. We can learn so much from young Christians, can't we? Thank you, Mary. When I was a teen, our church went through a split. Our theme song became:
    Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
    Look full in his wonderful face,
    and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
    in the light of his glory and grace.

  9. LeAnne, thank you so much for reminding us of a chorus I have sung as a prayer so many times. In fact, I thought of including it in my post but thought I had been too wordy as it was!

  10. One is never too wordy when speaking of Jesus! There are not enough words.

    Being a Christian means that my obedience relieves me of the responsibility of consequences. When I obey His promptings, I can leave the results confidently in His hands. That is such a freedom.

    But then I become responsible for listening carefully and obeying assiduously. Always a trade-off.

  11. Listening and obeying. Essential elements as we try never to let the world's attractions coax us to stop looking to our Lord.
    Thank you all for your great comments. May we somehow manage to SHOW these element of what being a Christian really means in the characters of our books.

  12. Thanks, Mary. A very great reminder. My challenge is to not allow my writing to get in the way of real fellowship with the Lord.