HEBREWS 12:1-2 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
THEME OF THE DAY. LOOKING IN THE RIGHT PLACE. Today’s scripture is familiar. We likely have heard many sermons or read some books encouraging us to “get our eyes off life’s distractions (every weight) and sin, get busy living the Christian life (run with endurance the race set before us), and focus our attention on Jesus (looking to Jesus). In the simplicity of the Christian life, we probably need to hear and read more of this exhortation for it captures the whole of the Christian life. And we probably need to hear and read more of this exhortation because we easily get distracted and get our eyes off Jesus. When we allow, and yes, we allow, the distractions of life get our eyes off the Lord, all kinds of spiritual problems occur, but I don’t want to look at the “dark side” of what happens when we do look away from Christ. Instead, let’s look to the “light side” of the blessings which occur in the life of the believer who is fixing their gaze upon the Lord Jesus. Here are two . . .
First, looking to Jesus enables us to interpret the world around us and what is happening in the proper light. I sometimes wonder why we Christians get upset at the immorality gripping our society; act surprised over corruption in politics and become animated when Biblical values and ungodliness are ignored, even opposed. Now don’t be tempted to label me as being indifferent to the state of our society and culture. I am not. I grieve with you, and even hold anger over the unrestrained immorality around us, the heinousness of our national sins, and the attacks on religious freedoms. Hopefully, it is a righteous anger because God’s honor is being slandered, but my anger, and yours, should not be vented on social media and the public arena over the conduct of sinners. When unbelievers, liberal organizations, corrupt corporations, and other expressions of ungodliness come to our attention, why should we be surprised? I like the simple illustration that brings this into perspective – “Dogs bark and sinners sin.” Friends, the world is just like Jesus said it would be. Read Matthew 24 and our Lord’s last public discourse. Keeping our eyes on Him and His Words enables us to see the world right, and respond, not surprised, but prayerful. And here is an application. When tempted to vent about the world around us, give that time to praying for the Lord’s mercy on the world around us.
Another blessing occurs when we keep our eyes on Jesus; we learn to live above life’s circumstances, not by life’s circumstances. How does this work? Who is Jesus? Our God. What does Jesus, our God, do? Controls life’s circumstances. Let the Apostle Paul remind us of this liberating truth – For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36). When we live knowing “all things work together for good” and that all things in our lives happen by divine appointment, not random chance, we live in the joy of Jesus – the author and finisher of not only our faith, but all things (Romans 8:28; Hebrews 12:2).
The Christian life is lived by keeping the eyes of our hearts looking in the right place, upon the right Person – Jesus. May the Lord help us to do so. Then we will see the world and our circumstances right, and respond in a manner pleasing to Him – the One we have fixed our hearts and minds on.
PRAYER: “Father, forgive me when I take my eyes off Your Son and lose my joy found in Him.”
QUOTE: “Looking to Jesus allows us to interpret life and circumstances in a godly way, not worldly.”