Study from God’s Word… Hebrews, Chapters 10-13 … Passage for Reflection: Hebrews 12: 2 [underlined below] in context of verses 1 - 3 … NIV 1 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, 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
My Journal for Today: “Focus!” That’s a real buzz word these days. And we sports followers especially see it as a quality exceptional athletes have to produce exceptional performance. An online dictionary has “focus” defined as concentrated effort or attention on a particular thing. Well, today’s highlight text charges Christians to focus (i.e., “fixing our eyes”) on Jesus; and in his devotional entry for today, in that it’s Christmas morning, LaGard Smith uses the very apt word picture of what Mary’s attention must’ve been like as she looked into the eyes of the child God’s angel had promised she would deliver, the One Who would save mankind. Can we just imagine what here “focus” must’ve been like as she looked into the eyes of Yeshua, The Messiah, … into the very eyes of God.
I can’t help but think about the words and sentiments of one of my favorite Christmas songs, Mary, Did You Know? - linked here. And to get myself in the mood and focus, I just went to God Tube online and pulled up that song [click on link] and heard these lyrics being sung by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd ..
Mary, did you know … that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know … that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know, … that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, … will soon deliver you.
Mary, did you know … that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know … your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know, that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, … you've kissed the face of God.
Can you just imagine what this teenage girl’s “focus” was when she looked into the eyes of that baby; and then, being the only one at that manger scene, who would 33 years later would be at the cross, can we imagine what it must’ve been like for this same mother to “fix her eyes” upon Jesus, dying there at the hands of and for the sins of mankind? Oh, the joy she must’ve felt in that manger, looking into the eyes of Messiah, and the horror she must’ve felt when she fixed her eyes on, her Son, the Son of God, on that cross!
And Dr. Smith asks me (us) a pointed question from his devotional today, which I repeat here: ”Do my eyes merely glance occasionally at the person of Jesus, or are my eyes firmly fixed on every aspect of His divine person?
Now, by God’s word in today’s highlight passage and during this devotional time, I’m asked to determine … just what is my “focus” on Jesus? Am I “fixing my eyes” on Jesus as the primary “focus” of my life, as was Mary on her child in the manger and on that cross at Calvary? Or am I just brought to focus on Jesus casually and occasionally, maybe on Sunday mornings in church or when I go to a Bible study, or when, as an Elder/Minister in my church, someone brings a personal or spiritual question to me?
Do I “focus” on Jesus every day, during the moments of each day; or do I just look to Him only when my life goes into crisis mode or I’m taken, by force of habit, to fix my eyes on Him?
These are good and challenging questions upon which I will be focusing as we enter a New Year; and I will deal with them seriously. I hope you do too.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, allow me Your enabling grace to focus on You much more in and through this new year than I ever have in my past relationship with You. Amen