Thursday, May 21, 2015

NTDS (76): Fixing Our Eyes On Jesus

 Heb 12:2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,… NIV

At first glance (pun intended), the phrase “fixing our eyes” may seem strange. It is not a common phrase but it is a good translation from the Greek. It captures the intended thought well. Some other translations say, “looking to” or “unto.” I don’t believe that does the text complete justice.

It is one thing to look at something; it is another thing to continue looking at it. That is the thought that is presented here. Another word you might use, would be “staring.” Strong’s Greek concordance says that it means to “consider attentively.” “Why,” you might ask, “is it so important to dissect this word so closely?” Read on to find out.

In verse one of this chapter, we are given a directive. It is to, “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” This can certainly be difficult for us. Think of how many things in our life easily distract us from following the Lord with all of our hearts.

The author puts these things into two categories:
1.  Things that hinder – This does not necessarily mean that they are sinful things. They are just things in life, that if we allow them to, can really distract us from our “race.” Things that we put above our devotion to Christ.
2.   Sin that entangles – These are areas of our life where we “miss the mark.” We actually do things that are against God’s laws and commands, even though we do not intentionally want to disobey.

The point is, that if we are to run our Christian race as if to win (1 Cor 9:24), we need to “put aside” the things that are keeping us from going “full speed ahead.” We are told to do this with perseverance (also translated endurance), meaning to endure trials and persecution and yet continue on.

This seems like a very difficult directive, but the author encourages us with a helpful exhortation. Keep your eyes “focused” on Jesus. He is the author of our faith. Think of what that means. You could say that He is the one who is writing our story. Literally the word means to be “first in rank or power.” He began your story.

It also tells us in verse 2, that He is the perfecter of our faith. This means that He is the “completer” or “consummator.” He will complete the story He began. Php 1:6 explains it this way, … “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” So, we keep our eyes fixed on Him because He has promised to see us through to the very end of our race.

And we can have confidence that He is able to do that. The reason we can have such confidence is, that according to verse 2, He has already endured. He endured the suffering and shame of the cross! Verse 3 tells us to “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Jesus, who was able to endure so much, in order to give sinful man the opportunity to come into relationship with God, can certainly bring us through whatever trials we may have. So, as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we are encouraged to go on as well, knowing that He will provide all we need to continue running our marathon.

I want to encourage you to take a look at your own life and see what things may be hindering you in running your “race.” Are there obstacles in your way? Is there any sin in your life which has you entangled? It is hard to run a race if you are tied up. If so, it is time to throw it off, cast it aside. Then, when hardships come your way, “fix your eyes upon Jesus,” and be encouraged to continue in perseverance, the race set before you. It is a life that Jesus has called you personally to live and He will see you through to the very completion of it!

God bless you

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