I was walking to my girlfriend Cherith’s house one evening a few months ago. It is a walk I have made many times, as it was also for the most part the same walk I took to work every morning for eight months. It is a walk I know well. And as I was going down along the road I happened to notice several men in yellow jackets standing outside a hotel on the opposite side of the road. This was unusual. They weren’t normally there. I got distracted, wondering what was happening. I was curious, and my gaze wandered from the footpath ahead of me to the hotel across the road as I looked for clues as to what was going on.
It was a walk I have made many times, so I was surprised to find myself walking into a solid metal bollard. Yet that is what happened when I took my focus off the path ahead of me and put it onto the hotel and yellow jacketed men across the road. I lost sight of what was in front of me, and soon found myself tripping over an obstacle in my path. And it reminded me of Hebrews 12:1-2
“let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith”
Other translations put it as “let us fix our eyes upon Jesus”. I like that picture. That we have our eyes totally fixed on Jesus. That we are always looking to Him for guidance. That we are always looking to Him for strength to endure. That we are always looking to Him for wisdom to make the right choices. That we are always looking to Him for the help to lay aside the sins that so easily ensnare us.
As soon as I took my eyes off the path in front of me I stumbled. I tripped over an obstacle on a path I have walked many, many times. A path I should be familiar with. And so it is with life. When we take our eyes off Jesus, we stumble. When we aren’t looking to Him that is when sin can get a grip in our lives. When our gaze is not on Him we stumble. We stumble over things we know we shouldn’t stumble over. We struggle with basic things that we know should have no place in our lives. And yet, because our eyes aren’t fixed where they should be we are distracted and so we don’t see the dangers we are blindly walking into while our attention is elsewhere.
It is not even necessary that the things that capture our focus are in and of themselves bad. There was certainly nothing sinful about me looking at the yellow jacketed men. But what they do is take our vision off what matters most. We lose sight of Jesus and that leaves us vulnerable to stumble, to trip, and even to veer off the course of the race that He planned and set before us.
When our vision is fixed on Jesus everything else fades into insignificance. Sin loses its appeal and therefore its power to trip us up. Our faith is mad perfect by Him. Our weakness is made strong by Him. In Jesus we find that power to lay aside every weight and sin, and through Him we get the help we need to stay on the narrow path of the race He has set before us. So let us live with tunnel vision, a people dedicated to looking to Jesus and seeking His will in all situations, living focused on Christ alone rather than distracted by what is going on around us.