‘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 trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. ‘
I want to challenge you with something today. Yeah, I know I’ve said that before plenty of times but I intentionally want to encourage you in this challenge not to just hear it but embrace it, fight for it, and give your life to it! I don’t want to sound too dramatic but this challenge deserves all of the hype and buildup because for those who embrace the challenge ahead, life and the fullness of it is promised to you.
So here it is…..
After a couple of weeks of talking about the race and running the race God has set before us, I’ve noticed that I’ve spent a little too much time sharing principles and key lessons from this passage but I haven’t spent enough time getting down to the nitty gritty, the pain, sweat, and tears that come with running this race. I want to be honest with you that so far in this new year of 2020, I have had moments of running the race, attacking this battle while throwing off the weight and sin that holds me back, running with endurance and eyes kept on Jesus. I’ve had a few moments of feeling and seeing what a life like that is like, but the truth is I’ve had many more moments of sitting on the sideline and not running the race. The truth isn’t fun, it actually hurts a little bit to share how I’ve fallen short so much but it’s necessary because to move forward, you have to take an honest look at where you are standing. The thing is, I haven’t ran this race this year like I would’ve hoped, at least not yet. And if that is you today, I want to encourage you and tell you that God doesn’t care about yesterday, He only cares about today, this present moment. If you have set goals, made a list of New Year resolutions, done all the planning and prepping but you find yourself standing there on the sideline, fearfully waiting on that moment to run the race to happen, I’m here to tell you that we are no longer waiting, TODAY IS THE DAY!!!!
And if you’re that person who has moved from the sidelines into the race and you’ve been running with all you’ve got, hitting goals, embracing the grind of this race, WAY TO GO!!!! Seriously, that’s a big feat but this God Gold is for you too because at any moment you could be hit by something in life or get complacent to give in and move back to the sideline. I challenge you too, KEEP PUSHING!!!
These past couple of weeks we’ve learned some really life-changing and just plain out cool stuff! But, what happens when life doesn’t agree with the goals you’ve set? What happens when the world around you throws so many obstacles in your path that makes these truths in Hebrews, about “the race,” seem insignificant and unimportant? What do we do when we get to the race and it doesn’t look as pretty as the workout pictures we saw on Instagram? What do we do when we realize this fight to be better and run this race isn’t all sunshine and rainbows like the planning and prepping for it seemed to be? What do we do when we realize the truth that this race isn’t easy!! When we see and experience the pain, sweat, and pure grit it takes to run this race God has set before us, to throw off all the weight and sin that has hindered us for so long, to not run at our speed but to run at God’s speed with endurance? What do we do when we realize that this is going to be really daggum hard?
Well, I’m here to tell you my experience of realizing the realness of what it takes to run this race and so far it hasn’t been easy by any means. My biggest problem hasn’t been with the sin or weight that holds me back, or with the speed in which I have ran, it hasn’t been the obstacles that life has thrown in my path. Then what could possibly be my biggest problem when it seems like I’ve named off all of the possible answers, it’s the direction of my eyes. What?!?!?! You’re probably thinking; “Jordan are you about to make another 2020 joke about seeing 2020 this year?” No, as much as I would love to, there’s bigger fish to fry here today.
Through these past couple of weeks I’ve had some eye problems. Maybe these relate to you and why your eyes have been acting up or maybe you’ve got your own set of eye problems. Either way, here they are.
1) Getting Caught up in the fog of life
What is the “fog of life?” Well, over these past couple of weeks it’s been busy for me. I’ve been working six days a week, two of those days with two-hour commutes to a new part-time job. Yeah, I know those sound like the perfect excuse but it’s just life and it’s not changing so instead of letting that busyness and craziness change me, let’s see why this causes eye problems?
Think about it for a moment, how easy is it to get so caught up in life? We find ourselves getting so busy, chasing to-do lists, we have places to be and people to see what feels like all the time. This is what I’ve learned that even when this life throws a lot on our plate, the enemy loves to use this as a means of distraction, to move our eyes off the race and the God who has called us to run, and we get caught in the fog of life. The fog of life is so easy to get caught up in that when we’re in it, we can rarely even notice. The fog of life is when things are so busy and so crazy that our eyes are constantly turning left and right, going here and there, we have no way to stop and see the truth of where we’re at, the goals we are letting go of and the time we are spending focused on all the mayhem around us. The busyness of life is like a fog that when caught in, we struggle to see clearly through the misty clouds, we struggle to make the right decisions so we choose whatever decision we can see clear enough in front of us. The fog of life is easy to get caught up in but so hard for us to even notice we are there.
Last week especially, I got caught in some serious fog, and the results were disastrous. As I slipped deeper and deeper into the busyness and craziness of the fog of life, my eyes went farther and farther away from Jesus. It was hard to see Him because there was so many things going on around me that my vision became cloudy. The results of getting lost in the fog and not keeping my eyes on Jesus were not good. I was prideful, I had direction in where I was going because I couldn’t see, I was easily distracted and pulled by every little thing that came my way. And worst of all, the relationships in my life paid the price, I was there in face to face with people but I could barely see them because the fog was so thick. I was present with others physically but I wasn’t present in any other way than that, my mind was in a gaze, going so many places at once it was like everything was cloudy including my judgement and actions. I tell you about the “fog of life,” because it’s a scary place to be and it can cause some serious problems if we seek to run this race for Christ as He has called us to.
I wanted to share that first thing that I got caught in so you can be on guard against getting caught in that same fog and if you do, you can know how to get out of it.
The simple truth I found was this; I HAVE TO KEEP MY EYES ON JESUS!!!
That’s it. There’s nothing more needed to clear up the fog than setting our eyes on the truth, our “Champion,” the “founder and perfecter of our faith.” The fog is where I found myself last week and the way I ran the race struggled. The truth is this race isn’t going to be easy, but it’s going to be the most worth it purpose we ever run after.
The first challenge I make to you after telling you of the first problem I’ve faced with my vision; no matter what life throws at us, no matter how crazy or how busy life gets, WE HAVE TO KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS!
I don’t know what that looks like for you but I challenge you to dig in here, be intentional about how you spend your time and where your eyes are at now and the fog of life will never stand a chance as you stand looking towards our Champion, Jesus Christ! Whatever it takes, it’s more than worth it. If it means rearranging your schedule, blocking out a time or several times in your day to spend in prayer and God’s Word communicating with Him and placing your eyes on Him, DO IT!!!! If it means beingmore intentional in the time you already spend with Him, DO IT! Just sit down and talk to Him for a minute, ask for guidance and wisdom on where, how and when you can spend time with Him? How can I make you a constant picture that my eyes are set on in this crazy life where I have so many pictures floating around me? Just ask God and He will make it clear to you but don’t stop there; actually follow through and spend that time with Him. It’s going to take being intentional and putting some of the other stuff in your life to the side but I promise you right here and now, keeping our eyes on Jesus is the ONLY WAY we can run this race! He’s all we have and all we need!!!! Let’s not let the fog swallow us up another day in our life while we sit there wondering why we don’t see results, why we can’t run this race, or why we just feel like a no good loser. Have you ever stopped to think it may be because your eyes are always on lesser things that will lose at the end of the day and not on our CHAMPION JESUS!!!!
Guard your eyes this week, place them on Jesus, you’ll be amazed at how all the “craziness” of life begins to fall into place!!!
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”