We’ve learned what an idol is, and have begun to uncover why our hearts are drawn to them. But what is it that feeds these idols in our lives? I’ve got a hint for you: it comes from our eyes.
Check this out, from Hebrews 12:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
We’re commanded here to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. He's both the one who created our faith and the one who makes it perfect.
I taught my son how to cut grass the other day. You may think it's just as easy as turning on the mower and going, but that’s where you’d start to be wrong. It's not.
- Set the blade to the right height. Not too high, not too low.
- Don’t cut when it's wet. That way it won’t clump up.
- Start by making 2 laps around the edge. This is so when you blow the grass, it doesn't go in the street but stays in your yard and your neighbors don't hate you.
- Don’t go too fast so you don’t create ruts.
- Make straight lines.
It looks good when we see those straight lines in a yard, doesn’t it? When the yard is striped like what you see at a freshly cut baseball field? So how do you do that? You have to fix your eyes on a point. When my son was cutting just the other day, I called out his name, and I did, he turned to look in my direction.
You know what happened? The mower drifted to where his eyes were focused. He started looking at me, and unintentionally he started inching towards me. And the line that had been straight began to veer sideways.
The same is true in our spiritual life. We move towards where we focus our eyes.
Sometimes those objects, relationships, goals, and shiny trinkets are sinful. But sometimes…well…let’s read the passage again from above, in Hebrews 12.
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles."
So there are things that are sinful that catch our eye. When you see those, run. And there are things that aren't sinful but are holding us back. They “hinder” us. The passage here reminds us to those things off...by keeping our eyes on Jesus.
We have a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 11) telling us...this life is short. Prize your faith. Prize your relationship with Jesus. Fix your eyes on Him.
What does that mean?
1. Fix your eyes daily. Should we value quality time with God or quantity? BOTH. We’ll find quality time with Him within the quantity that we spend.
2. Meditate your eyes on the truth. In other words, get truth in front of you. Think about a tea bag. If you let it spend 10 seconds in a cup of water, you can’t tell it’s been there. But give it 10 minutes, and the water begins to change colors. New flavors emerge.
3. Put your hand to the plow. Actually do something. Put your faith to work. Get out of your house, out of your head, out of your study and love on others. Keep your eyes on Jesus by putting your love to work. Idols melt when you do this.
4. Don’t do it alone. We're better together, not alone. We may go faster alone, but we go better together. Others help us focus our eyes on Jesus by keeping us moving towards Him.
Now...let me go back to Hebrews 11, and read you this warning. This is sobering..
“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
This one gets me. I think life, and my battle against sin, is tough. Yet I haven’t shed blood in my fight. And this is a stark remind that as I keep my eyes on Jesus, it will cost me something. I'll struggle against sin...and I'll have to shed blood. It’ll hurt. There will be sacrifices involved in focusing on my King.
Throw off everything that hinders. Today. And tomorrow. And the next day.
Let’s keep fighting.