LEARNING TO FOCUS ON CHRIST

Dear Friends,

We’ve now come to the last in our series on Hebrews 12:1-3, a wonderful passage about running the race of faith. The first point this passage makes is an encouraging reminder of the many saints who’s lives bear witness of the victory ahead. Yet, as noble and godly as the saints were, they are not meant to be our ultimate source of strength and motivation. The next line in our study clearly states who is:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

This passage affirms that we “fix our eyes” on Jesus as the One who gives us the faith and strength we need to also finish strong. I ask you today what I ask myself many times —

Where is your focus lately? I’ve thought of some areas where our focus may tend to stray:

  • On our calling
  • On our works (living by the law, legalism)
  • On others running ahead of us (jealousy, envy)
  • On others running behind us (pride)
  • On our own feet in dismay, not looking where we are going
  • At the scenery of the world
  • At our own ambition

To set our spiritual eyes on Christ is to occupy the heart and mind with Him. The more we do so, the more we stay on the right path and the less distracted we become. This passage doesn’t indicate that Christ is looking towards anyone, only “the joy that was set before Him.” What does it tell us about this joy, that it would be enough to withstand the shame and pain of the cross?  A reading of Christ’s own words shows us His intense focus on this joy, even though it was spoken at the darkest hour before His crucifixion:

“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:4-5)

There is no one greater for us to set our eyes upon. He is the “Author and Perfecter” of faith. He is the one who blazed the trail.

And He has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

His sitting down indicates the completion of His atoning work. We follow in His footsteps to bow before the throne, a singular goal in eager expectation of our full redemption.

We know that we cannot endure without our spiritual eyes on Christ, so we would do well to mediate on His example.

Last, I leave you with nothing less than encouragement in this race before us. I can’t speculate on what you may be going through right now, but I’m here to tell you that no matter what you are dealing with, you still have the presence of God to heed your cry. (Heb. 13:5). Keep going, my friend! This life is not all there is.

May we stand before Him and say “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Excerpts from “The Race Before Us”

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