Our pastor taught on Hebrews 12:1-2 this Sunday. What a powerful passage for us!
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:1-2
So I’ve been thinking about this and meditating on this passage all weekend. What does it mean to fix our eyes on Jesus?
Look at my eyes.
When our children were babies, starting at 10 months old, we began to teach them obedience. And the very first thing we taught was for them to look us in the eyes. Without that intense eye contact, we had no way of knowing if they were paying attention to us, let alone hearing what we were saying. Teaching them to be attentive by looking intently in our eyes was the beginning of them learning to heed us and, eventually, to trust us.
A quick look at my own life shows how easy it is for me to become distracted. I get captivated by the things around me that I see and hear.
- I lose focus.
- I lose perspective.
- I start to worry.
- I begin to fear.
- I feel angry.
What’s my problem? I am NOT fixing my eyes on Jesus. I am not looking intently right into His eyes. I am following Peter’s path when he walked on the water. When he kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked in victory in an impossible situation! When he looked away from Jesus to anything else, he sank like a rock.
What is an encumbrance?
Well, the dictionary says:
The word used in the bible means weight. It is mostly used to mean a bulk or mass, a protuberance, whatever is prominent. Sounds like anything that is in the way, doesn’t it?
We are called to lay aside every encumbrance and sin that entangles us. The word entangles means to encircle or surround. So these encumbrances are in front of us, blocking our way. When we stop moving toward Jesus, we fall prey to sin which actually trip us up. We become surrounded and unable to move anywhere at all. Like quicksand, we sink into sin.The things I mentioned before - the fear, worry, anger - these are all encumbrances that need to be put aside. They keep me from walking forward with Jesus in faith!Click To Tweet
Are you catching the problem here?
If I am not looking intently into the eyes of Jesus, I fall prey to the obstacles in my path.
If I allow obstacles to stand in my path, I look to them and not to Jesus and become entangled.
Endurance… Jesus had it!
I am a wimp. Personally I struggle with follow through on hard things. But the Christian walk is not for wimps! We are encouraged over and over again to continue on, to not lose hard, to finish the course, to run the race.
The One we can follow, again, is Jesus. He WILLINGLY walked forward in the Father’s plan, even when that plan meant His own death on the cross! YIKES!
Jesus is given to us as an example in this passage. We are told to run the race with endurance, looking to Jesus and the absolute follow through of His life’s work on the cross for the gospel.
My heart’s desire is to set aside any and every thing that will keep me from looking fixedly into the eyes of Jesus. I do not want anything to surround and entangle me. I want to be able to faithfully move forward in this race of life, joyfully giving grace to the Lord with my life.
Is that your desire? Are there encumbrances you have not yet set aside? I pray He gives you revelation in this and that you can put aside everything holding you back from looking into the eyes of our precious Jesus!