“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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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 sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
As we reflect back on the past year, and on years past, let us keep in mind the hand of God in all of that. Let us reflect on the blessings of the past, and even those things that while they may not have seemed like blessings at the time, we were able to see God blessing through the hardships we may have faced. These become for us some of the “great cloud of witnesses” of God’s faithfulness to us through the years. Then, as we look ahead to the New Year, let us not forget His faithfulness of the past, and let it give us confidence, even in the face of opposition, to move out in faith to what lies ahead.
The text reminds us to “fix our eyes on Jesus”. There are so many distractions around us, clamoring for our time, attention, and devotion. Keeping our eyes fixed or focused on Jesus can help us to keep everything else in perspective. When it comes to family, keeping our eyes fixed on Him can help us to have the proper perspective when it comes to family matters. Being godly spouses, parents or children depends on having the perspective of first belonging to God, but then understanding how we are to bring glory to Him in how we relate to one another.
When it comes to the workplace, keeping our spiritual eyes fixed on Jesus helps us to have a holy perspective of what it means to be a godly employee or employer. Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” When we keep our eyes “fixed on Jesus”, when we run everything we do through the filter of our faith in Christ, it helps keep all the other relationships of our lives in proper balance and perspective.
It may also help to keep Christ’s motivation in view. “…who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” It was what Christ knew was at the end of the finish line that kept Him going. Paul mentions that goal at the end in the passage in Colossians as well, “…since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” While there are blessings that we may enjoy while still here on earth, there is so much more that is stored up for us in heaven, if we keep pressing on, and keep our eyes fixed on Him.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen