“Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.”
-Hebrews 12:1-3 (HCSB)
Sandi could tell you that your balance follows your gaze. He’d stopped his mountain bike just above a trail intersection. I was waiting for him on the trail below him and to his right. Being new to the kind of pedals that held his feet captive in metal clips, he focused on getting his left foot out before he lost all of his forward momentum. Proud of his success, he turned his gaze to the right to meet mine — and his weight followed his eyes. In slow motion he keeled over down the slope toward me, still unable to free his right foot from the pedal. He tumbled unhurt into an avalanche of late-autumn leaves, branches and his own bike.
His fall reminded me of the times I’d ridden trails and come across a rock or tree stump standing out against the flat dirt. I’d make a concerted effort to move my eyes away from the object while thinking, “Whatever you do, don’t hit that!” And of course, because I was looking right at it, that’s exactly where my bike went. Over the years I’ve learned the same painful lesson about riding a horse or flying an airplane — and about walking the Straight and Narrow Road. Perhaps that’s why the author of Hebrews wrote, “Fix your eyes on Jesus…”
Like the bike trails in rocky New Mexico, the path I walk as a Christian on earth is riddled with rocks, stones, stumps, forks, switchbacks, hills and valleys. And if that isn’t enough, a lion lurks among the dense foliage along the way. He slinks along, just waiting for us to stumble, even pushing things into the path or clearing a dead-end trail fork so that it looks far more inviting than the Straight and Narrow. We need to know he’s there so we can recognize his wiles. But we also must know that turning aside to catch a glimpse of him would lead to a wreck. The only way to navigate this Road is to fix our eyes on where we need to go — to fix our eyes on Jesus, who is the Way.
1. Where are the eyes of your heart fixed?
2. Are you as intent on your course in your spiritual life as you are in your sport?
2 Corinthians 4:16-18