Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

I love fixing things. I can’t fix cars or computers, but one of the things I do often try and fix is myself. As a matter of fact, sometimes I focus on that a whole heck of a lot. Where am I falling short? What skills do I lack? Where do I feel like I’m letting God down? I expend a lot of energy focusing on my growth. It seems to me that the quest for growth is a worthy one, but in my effort to do so, I often focus on the problems and not the Problem-Solver.

Sitting on a pillow in the back corner of the sanctuary during worship at Awakening last week, I was toiling in my prayers: God, make me a better leader. Help me to be pure in my thoughts. Make me a more caring friend. These are all good prayers and things that God has answered in my life, but as I prayed them I felt a burden on my shoulders. It felt as if the weight of these things was pressing down on me. And I think it felt that way because I was focused on how I need to change instead of being focused on Jesus.

But I felt a voice telling me, lay those things aside. LOOK AT ME.

Consider the words of the author of Hebrews:

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1b-2 (ESV. Italics added.)

When I heard this while praying on my knees, it felt like that huge burden was lifted off. I was no longer  staring at this mountain of trash in my life, but was staring at the Giant who had the strength to move the mountain. And if He wouldn’t, He was so beautiful it felt like it didn’t matter the mountain was even there. I had something better to look at than a mountain of trash. I was looking at Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith.”

This series in Awakening is called “One Thing” and we’ve been discussing how we must abide in Christ and how we produce fruit as a result. In Your pursuit of bearing fruit as a Christian, remember to keep your end-goal in mind. Who do I want to become? Who do I want to become like? Rather than focusing on behavior-modification, discipline yourself to constantly remember Jesus and who He is. His power. His grace. His love. His faithfulness. His complete control over everything you cannot control. If you want to grow and change, keep your eyes on the prize: Jesus. He’s the perfect role-model and who we must strive to emulate. Receive Paul’s exhortation on focusing our thoughts:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

Jesus is all these things: true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Keep your mind fixated on Him. That will put your problems in perspective and keep you on the right path.

Author: Jeff Oleson

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