Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
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 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 (NLT)
In any given college season—football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, softball, gymnastics and many other college sports—well over 120 Division I schools and hundreds more in other divisions, begin the year with a focus on being the last one standing with the national championship trophy.
And if that were the end-all-be-all—most everyone would end the year as failures. Is that really what happens? And if the truth be known, as you and I have seen, for some it is the end-all-be-all. It depends on your focus.
Because whatever it is that you make your focus—your end-all-be-all—will be how you define yourself and how you allow the world to define you. So if it’s the year-end trophy, or some conference or national all-sports trophy, or whatever—and you don’t get it—well, you’re a failure—in your eyes and the eyes of others. It is the standard, how you will be defined, your identity to yourself and the world, which you set with your focus. We also tend to set that standard of how we will be defined by the things we focus on having and acquiring, and placing value upon—houses, cars, positions, achievements, and more.
The writer of Hebrews suggests a different way. Perhaps a focus that leads to better awards and accomplishments, and a life that is defined by the impact you had along the way. In the passage above, the writer suggests that we should, while forgetting all else, fix our eyes only on Christ.
Maybe this will illustrate what might happen when we do. One evening a number of years ago, in Highlands, North Carolina with Nathan, Amy and Hannah, our now elder Granddaughter, about to graduate from high school, was just three at the time. I had just walked up to the cottage to turn on the lights so the kids would be able to see their way up later in the evening when they left our house below. As I returned to the house I saw something I hadn’t seen in a while, fireflies, blinking, twinkling, lighting my path as I walked down the drive to the house below.
When I got back to my family a few moments later, I announced what I had just seen in the dark night. Quick as a flash, Hannah’s daddy, Nathan, scooped her up in his arms and took her out on the front deck. As they both peered into the dark night, Nathan would see a firefly twinkle in the darkness and say—“There’s one, Hannah, did you see the firefly?” And then in a moment, he’d spot another and another—“There’s one!” “There’s one!” “Did you see it, Hannah?”
And with her little head stretched forward and her eyes fixed into the darkness all around her, she suddenly exclaimed—“Dere’s one, Dere’s one!” And as the moon continued to rise in the night sky, wrapped securely in her Daddy’s arms, her eyes remained fixed—focused into the night—waiting with a sense of wonder, another flash of light. “Dere’s one” we would hear over and over until she quietly fell asleep on her Daddy’s shoulder.
The next morning after breakfast and while looking for snails with her Daddy on the front deck, she excitedly announced— “Dere’s One!” “Dere’s One!”
“What, Hannah?” Nathan asked.
“A firefly!” she exclaimed. But she saw them not with her eyes that morning, although her gaze was still as focused, but instead she saw them with her heart.
That one experience with her Daddy the night before, seeing something wonderful, something new—the twinkling lights of fireflies in the world around her had created a sense of eye-popping wonder in her, and a passion in her heart forever fixed on fireflies.
Fix your eyes, the scripture passage says, commit your hearts to that Light of Christ, look for Him with the same intensity of focus that Hannah had in her heart so that she saw fireflies in the morning light. And when you do, you will see Christ with you in every step of your life.
It’s a gaze of such intensity that it actually springs from the depths of our heart, so like Hannah saw fireflies in the morning light, we see Christ clearly in every moment of our day. Christ, who will then help you to fix your eyes on what is truly important when the world tries to call us in a different direction.
Fix your focus on Him, and in that, let Him fix your life.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2017. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.