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 12:1-2
Setting aside every encumbrance and fixing our eyes on Jesus.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of accompanying university students to Italy. One of our optional opportunities was an 8-mile bike ride into the hills outside of Florence, with We Like Tuscany. To get to the country, we rode our bikes through the traffic. Our guide, Bill, told us to “go with the flow” and not worry about the cars coming within inches of us.
Each time a car got close to me, my front tire wobbled, and I had to stop and try to start again. The students were also excited and came within inches of me. Once, I crashed into a stone wall.
Four miles up the hills at more than a 60 degree angle. Front tire wobbling, crashing, restarting, walking, and retrying.
Finally, I made it to the top. Notice, one person is on her cell phone. They patiently waited for me.
It was worth the uphill pedal AND walk, huffing and puffing.
Bill, our tour guide was awesome. He identified me as a hazard and told me to follow right behind him, especially in the traffic.
“Don’t look at the traffic, Karen. Look at my tires and follow right in their tracks.”
He periodically looked back to see if I was following in his path. He told me to adjust the gears when necessary. As long as I followed his path and adjusted the gears as he told me to, my tires did not wobble, and the traffic did not bother me.
Jesus told His disciples to follow Him, to learn of Him, and to focus on Him.
When Peter stepped out of the boat and into the water during the storm, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on the water. When Peter looked at the storm around him, he began to sink into the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:25-33).
That’s what I was doing. Every time I looked at the traffic, I wobbled or crashed, many times having to walk for awhile.
Bill had no idea the lesson he was teaching me.
Struggles, crashes, and steep hills help us refocus on Jesus.
In my head, I knew this principle and thought I was practicing it. I’d been through storms before. I’d climbed hills steeper than these. But when I was placed in the midst of chaotic traffic, I wobbled because I did not have my focus in the right place.
let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith
The Christian life is strenuous, like a race, like a bike ride going straight up the hill in the middle of Italian traffic. We wobble and crash. We walk for awhile. We get back on the bike and start pumping. We refocus, and eventually, we get there … with help.
I was so glad that Bill was there to keep reminding me to keep my eyes fixed on him. He encouraged me and kept others away from me who might cause me to crash. He even carried my camera for me, so that I wouldn’t worry about that.
Jesus is there for us, ready to remind us to fix our eyes on Him. He’s there to prevent crashes, but if we get our eyes off Him, sometimes, we crash. When we do, He’s right there, ready to take part of our load and guide us back to His path.
Jesus is right by our side, ensuring that we get to the top. It still takes effort. It still takes a bit of huffing and puffing. With Jesus, though, you’ll reach the mountain top.
If you are struggling today, perhaps it would be beneficial for you to take a minute and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal where your eyes are focused.
Our Father in heaven, You are there when we need You. In the middle of the storm, in the middle of chaos, there You are. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to show us the way. Help us to keep our eyes and minds focused on Him. Father, thank You for Bill and his attentiveness to the people he leads. Bless him and his family. Holy Spirit, thank You for this reminder that Jesus will never leave us and that He is there to guide us, pick us up, and carry our load, so that we will reach the mountain top with Him. Amen.
Please share in the Comment Section a time that you had to refocus and what you learned.
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