The theme of our Church Weekend Away was “Running the race…together.” On Sunday morning I shared a message on the distractions that hinder us from running the race. It was suggested that I write an article sharing the thoughts of this message. Hebrews 12:1b, 2 says, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith”. The word “looking” or “fix your eyes” means to look away from all else and to look steadfastly, intently toward a distant object, that is to be absorbed in the person of Jesus in your mind, will and emotions.
In 1954 a memorable event occurred at the Empire Games in Vancouver where the eyes of the world were fixed on Roger Bannister and John Landy, the two fastest milers in the world at that time. It was being called the “Miracle Mile” as the world was waiting to see the first sub-four-minute mile race. And it lived up to expectations as Landy quickly took the lead in the first laps but then he made a mistake from which he could not recover. He took a moment to look over his left shoulder to see where Bannister was and in that moment Bannister shot past him and dashed ahead to beat Landy by five yards and run a sub-four minute mile. Landy’s “fatal lapse of concentration” is a picture of what the writer of Hebrews was saying in this verse. Fixing your eyes on Jesus, blocking out all distractions, running to win the race of your life.
Three incidents in the life of the apostle Peter illustrate how easily we can get distracted from “looking to Jesus”.
- Firstly, Peter moved his eyes off Christ onto himself (Luke 5:1-8): “He fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’” …And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men” (vv. 6, 8). While the Bible says we have all sinned, we are not to dwell on our weaknesses, but look to Jesus for forgiveness and the fulfilment of His purposes in our lives.
- Secondly, Peter got his eyes off Christ onto his circumstances (Matt.14:22-31). When Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water, Peter requested that he could walk to Jesus on the water. While he looked to Jesus he did well, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me” (v.30).
- Thirdly, Peter got his eyes off Christ onto other people (John 21:15-22). After Jesus rose from the dead, He joined the disciples beside the sea of Galilee. While Peter was walking with Jesus he was distracted when he saw another disciple, John, nearby. “When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (vv. 21, 22).
While we may be quick to criticise Peter, we can be just as easily get distracted and take our eyes off our Lord as he did.
On the positive side: how are we to “fix our eyes” on Jesus? It means we are to focus on Him in prayer, reading and hearing the Word, worship and by being conscious of His presence throughout the day. Also, in consulting Him and obeying Him in all the decisions we make. But most of all, it is who Jesus is, that should enthral us.
When we lift our heads and our fix our gaze upon Jesus Christ, we will find that we are encouraged and renewed in our commitment to run the Christian race to the glory of Christ, our Master.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
(Helen Lemmel © Renewal 1950 Singspiration, Inc.)
There will be a Prayer Meeting before the service at 10:00 am. Do join us!
Church Membership Introduction/Class will take place on Sunday at 09:15. Everyone interested in knowing more about our church is welcome. Transport from the station at 09:05.
Worship Service: 10:30 followed by after church fellowship.
Bruce Davie, Pastor/Elder