“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-3
A few weeks ago, I shared how at church I had this whole “fixing my eyes on Jesus is the answer to EVERYTHING” epiphany. I was super excited about how it was the answer to a lot of the struggles I’d been having and I was excited to start focusing on it.
I was thinking about it as I walked up to the front to grab communion. As I was walking, a man was trying to get to his seat and I was in his way. We did that whole song and dance where I stop, but he stops too. I go to move and he does too. I go left, he goes right. I finally just pushed past him to get to the front. I felt in the way and awkward. And from something so minor, I was already spiraling wondering, “Was that rude and selfish that I tried to go ahead of him instead of stopping and waiting for him to get to his seat? Did other people see and think I’m a selfish person?”
I know. Reading it, I see that it is utterly ridiculous. No one cares that much to have even noticed, and if they had, to judge me for something so minor. Yet, that’s where my mind went as it so often does, “How am I being perceived?”
I caught myself in these foolish thoughts and realized how quickly I had taken my eyes off of Jesus and focused them on myself and on other’s perceptions of me. It was as if God used this extremely minor example to show how quickly and easily I can lose my focus. How quickly and easily sin and the distractions of the world so easily entangle us.
It was a bit disconcerting to think I was already distracted AT CHURCH WHILE IN LINE FOR COMMUNION. I mean, if I can’t keep my eyes fixed on Jesus here, where can I?
Maybe it was simply a reminder that although I now know the answer, I’m going to forget it and mess it up over and over and over. Maybe it was a simple reminder of what he whispered to me weeks earlier- “Life is not a test. It’s a journey.”
I’m going to lose my focus and I’m going to get entangled in sin. But Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient to pull me up out of the muck every time.
What sins or distractions take your eyes off of Jesus?