Fixing your eyes on Jesus
When we run the race, where do we fix our eyes? Do we look at our feet? Do we look behind us? Do we keep our eyes on the other runners? No. We keep our eyes on the finish line. For us, the finish line is Christ. As much as we might be seeking after short term rewards for our exact moment in the race, our real goal is a spiritual and eternal reward in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the “Pioneer” in that he has made the path possible, in fact, he is the path. By enduring the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins and made it possible for us to run to God. Before this, our sin disqualified us from even running the race. This reminds us that it is not our works that allow us to run this race, but his grace . He is the “perfecter” in that he is transforming us, evermore, with ever increasing glory, into elite athletes able to run with endurance. Before this, we were weighed down with the burden of sin and death, but through his death on the cross and his resurrection we have been set free from sin and are being transformed into his image, the image of the perfecter, with ever increasing glory, so that we can win this race.
Its easy to want to look at our selves, our current spot in the race, or other people, but our call, as we run this race is to fix out eyes entirely on Jesus, knowing our destination and knowing the one who has enabled us to run in the first place.
When we look to Jesus we have, as the psalmist says here, a renewed understanding. We see things through him, and when we do so, we have a broader understanding than before. See before we knew him and his eternity our vision and understanding had a horizon, we could only see so far, and that horizon was death. Now we have eternal life, we understand more and more, God’s ways, His plans, and His love for us.
We can begin to understand the joy of his commands and his law. Without Christ the law of God brings about despair. We don’t understand it and we resent it. The psalmist says that God’s command are a delight. In Christ we understand this delight. That the commands in the law exist to bring us to understand our need for Jesus (Romans 7)
2 Corinthians 4:13-18
That last line there; “What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” is so important. Its easy to look at what is seen. Often the thing we are seeing is what we are lacking or what we want. We set our eyes on our struggles, on our difficulties, on our limitations. This is followed by setting our eyes on the things we want in order to fix temporary issues. So we might put our sights on a new career, a better house, or a better marriage. We often look at our lives in terms of the issues we face and the things we want. The Bible calls us to look beyond that in order to find something that surpasses both the issues we face and the temporary solutions the world might offer. To look beyond that to see the eternal solution that Jesus offers.
It is so important, even though we don’t often talk about it in the modern Church, to understand and know the eternal promise that we have in heaven, to know the destination that he has set before us. Because if we understand that, we understand how big his promise is compared to whatever we might be dealing with here and now. To understand that no matter what we are facing on this earth, that it is temporary, but the gift that we have through Jesus Christ is eternal. Paul says that our temporary problems are giving way for an eternal glory that will far outweigh them all. I want to encourage you to study heaven, study the gift that God has given us in eternity to truly understand what he is doing for us now and what he has given us by his grace for eternity.
The psalmist here says “In you I take my refuge”. It begs the question, where do you take refuge? When you are in need of help, what do you ask God for? David here is asking God for God. He doesn’t say God give me a really fast Chariot so I can outrun them, a sharper sword so I can defeat them, more money so I can build a bigger wall to keep them out, no he says “God, you keep me safe”. We often treat God as if he will be the dispenser of the things that will really help us, the things that will solve all our problems, when in reality, it is God himself who will help us and will be the solution to our problems.
No doubt we can ask God for solutions to temporal issues. In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples he told us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread”. Its not wrong to ask God for temporary solutions for temporary problems, in fact it shows faith when we do so. However, we need to do so acknowledging that its not the daily bread that sustains us, but that it is God who sustains us. Remember in that same prayer, Jesus told us to start off by saying “our father in heaven, holy are you, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”. When we acknowledge the source we once again realising how big he is compared to what we are going through, and we can truly take refuge in him.
This very short Psalm reveals something about it’s author. It reveals that this is someone who knows the Lord. They know about him and all his amazing attributes. This psalm reminds me of why it is so important to know God and to know about him. When we do so, we can begin to understand his power and sovereignty and we can trust in him. I believe one of the reasons so many people in Churches today last assurance and hope is simply because they don’t actually know God.
When we read the story of Abraham and God’s continued promise to him, when we read the story of Noah and the promise God gave to never flood the earth again, when we read of Gods faithfulness to Israel when we set them free from Egypt, when we read of God’s provision to David, all of these things, knowing these truths in the Bible are essential to knowing and trusting in God, because when we know these things we see how trustworthy and powerful he truly is.
IN Deuteronomy 4:9-10 God commands the people to never forget what they have seen and to pass these things on to their children and their children’s children. He says that this is so that they will revere God, that they will understand the power of God and his goodness. I want to encourage you, if you doubt the faithfulness of God and his sovereignty, read the scriptures. Study his amazing faithfulness as revealed in everything he has done from Genesis to Revelation.
When we see Christ we see something different, something above, something more powerful and more loving. If that is the case, why wouldn’t we want to fix our eyes on him? Its even more than that. We are raised with Christ, given new life, so it’s essential that we look at the one who raised us. We want to know where he is going because we will go there as well. He has made a way for us and so, in order to not get lost, we keep our eyes on him.
It is such a deep transformation that Paul says here that our lives are hidden in Christ and intertwined such that when he appears we will appear as well and we will enter into his eternal promise not in our name but in his name. Because of this, with our minds and hearts fixed on him, we live differently. We live not distracted by the worldly stuff but with our attention firmly fixed on him, not only where he is going, but also what he does as he goes. Having Christ as our example we seek to obey him and to throw off the sin that holds us back.
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