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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. Hebrews 12:1-2a NLT
It is so easy for us to lose focus. There are so many things that are vying for our attention that we often don’t finish tasks that we begin. However, finishing projects are much more important than beginning them. When we first begin an endeavor, we are often very excited and ambitious, but as time wanes we lose our focus by concentrating on the wrong things, concerting our efforts in the wrong direction, or centering our energies in the wrong way. The writer exhorts the Hebrews by laying out a plan for them to finish the course of faith they had undertaken. The previous chapters allowed us to examine the lives of saints of old who had persevered for the cause of Christ, letting us know that we can also finish what we’ve started by laying down weight and sin that hinder us and impede our progress. God has laid out a race that we can win if we keep our eyes on Jesus—in essence, stay focused!
I am reminded of the day I gave birth to my oldest daughter, Eboni. When I began to go into full labor I told myself a few things. Although there were several other people in the room, I began to internally talk to myself. I reminded myself that (1) there was nothing I could do about being in this situation but to deal with it—(2) I was in labor and the baby had to be born—I had to focus on the fact that there was a task before me that I needed to accomplish. The pain would be there regardless so there was no need in screaming and acting a fool (like the lady I heard in the next room!), but rather I needed to focus. My husband, God bless him, was beside me trying his best to help by quoting scriptures! Well, you can imagine what I really wanted to say to him! However, I focused only on the task God had blessed me to accomplish—to bring a life into the world. If I had concentrated on the pain, the fear and all the other emotions women feel during childbirth, it might have delayed my progress.
We often get sidetracked by concentrating on the wrong things—we allow other things to kick us off the track . If we are trying to lose weight, we get sidetracked by the donuts and the cookies. When we say we’re going to be active in ministry, we get sidetracked by negative comments and criticism. If we want to grow spiritually and desire to go to Bible Study, we get sidetracked by the mall, the television or _______ - you fill in the blank. Whatever the task that shows up in our walk—we concentrate on the wrong things and get sidetracked! The Lord tells us to do something and we concentrate on what others might say or think, or how inadequate we feel in getting it done.
We also concert our efforts in the wrong direction. Many times God will tell us exactly how to do something, who to approach (and sometimes even who not to approach) to assist us. We, however, try to be people pleasers and seek the approval of others about the tasks that God has mandated for us to accomplish.
Finally, we center our energies in the wrong way. Sometimes the task seems daunting or impossible—we lose vigor and even interest and begin centering our energies on something else! We drop the ball, jump the ship, whatever you want to call it—we move on without completing the task. However, the writer to the Hebrews gives us the prescription for staying on task—keeping our eyes on Jesus! In Him our faith depends from start to finish. If we begin with Him and keep our eyes on Him, we will end with Him!! It is not in our strength that we accomplish the task. We must remain focused. Put down the donuts, don’t listen to the criticism, get out of the mall and STAY FOCUSED! God has a job for each of us to do. Watch out for the weight and the sin of unbelief that will take you off the track! Run! Run! Run! You can do it because God has already made provisions for you to succeed! Stay focused, my sister, and don’t give up! ©2004
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