Monday, September 9, 2013

With Eyes Set On Christ

“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.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, NASB95)

In school I learned that the shortest distance between two points was a straight line. This didn’t help me much though when I tried to apply it to getting from one destination to another in scouting. The maps I was given rarely ever showed a path as a straight line. And when it came to topographical maps I then also had to deal with elevations and those concentric circular lines that as they were drawn closer meant that my climb was steeper and steeper.  Sometimes it was near impossible to accurately measure the distance ahead of us.

It was then that we talked about how far it was as a crow flies, presuming that the crow flew above everything and straight from one location to the other. As the crow flew it was one distance, but as we had to hike it was another distance and often much greater. It was also a distance for which we generally could not see one end from the other as the path was continually rising or falling and the trail maneuvered through the varying terrain. This was especially true when it came to the steep stuff—leaving us to cut back and forth in order to cover even the shortest of distances. Maybe that is why I liked being a swimmer better than a hiker—lanes go one way and then we turn around and go back (and back and back and back).

Life is much like hiking a high mountain trail in that there are many things which we go through which are not clearly laid out before us and through which we don’t know fully what lies ahead. But in them we have the perfect Guide in our God who soars above the stuff that fills our days and complicates our paths. He sees the beginning from the end and is able to judge every obstacle along the way (and even able to place or remove them as suits His best purposes). God does not get tangled in the underbrush or distracted by forks in the road. He is totally powerful to take what He knows and to perfectly apply it to our lives and bring us out standing on the other side.

“No temptation [test, or trial] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [tested, or tried] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [test, or trial] will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB95)

So, getting back to my geometry lesson, there is one aspect where that ‘shortest distance rule’ applies, and that has to do with our trust in God. Here it is much better to look first to Him in all things and not become distracted by all of the other stuff. It goes much, much better for us if we don’t take our eyes off of Him.

“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25–27, NASB95)

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His….” (2 Chronicles 16:9a, NASB95)

“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. … The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:15, 17, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (9/9)

Walk with Me along paths of trust. The most direct route between point A and point B on your life-journey is the path of unwavering trust in Me. When your faith falters, you choose a trail that meanders and takes you well out of your way. You will get to point B eventually, but you will have lost precious time and energy. As soon as you realize you have wandered from your trust-path, look to Me and whisper, “I trust You, Jesus.” This affirmation will help you get back on track.

The farther you roam along paths of unbelief, the harder it is to remember that I am with you. Anxious thoughts branch off in all directions, and farther from awareness of My Presence. You need to voice your trust in Me frequently. This simple act of faith will keep you walking along straight paths with Me. Trust in Me with all your heart, and I will make your paths straight.

“Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” (Isaiah 26:4, NASB95)

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10, NASB95)

“Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:4–5, NASB95)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, NASB95) 

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