Keep your eye on the ball. How often have we been told that! From school days when learning to play tennis, cricket, netball, football or some other ball game we have been told it over and over again. That’s because its basic to the development of skills in these sports. But it’s important in other areas of life too. Lose your focus and you lose your way. How many businesses have got themselves into trouble because in diversifying they ignored their core business! And when hammering in a nail don’t allow yourself to get distracted. So, let’s take heed of Hebrews 12:1-2 when it tells us to run with perseverance keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. The faith that we are called to is faith in Jesus Christ, not, first and foremost, faith in the Church or faith in the Bible or faith in anything else. These are to point us to Christ and they serve us well when they do that. Just don’t get distracted. There are many ways in which we can be distracted from running the race we are called to run: the cares and stresses of daily life, the allure of money, the sense of swimming against the tide of popular opinion and the ever-present temptation to centre everything on ourselves, our wants and our desires. The particular point that Hebrews is making here is that, by enduring the pain and shame of crucifixion, Jesus modelled perseverance for us. If he was prepared to go to such an extent in his faith, how can we, who are his followers, allow ourselves to go slack or fall away in our faith. Get rid of anything that hinders and, by the enabling Spirit of Christ, follow him. Psychologists measure the strength of human drives by measuring the level of pain that their subjects are ready to endure to satisfy their instincts; so the strength of one’s faith can be indicated by the level of inconvenience, hurt or persecution that a person is prepared to put up with in living out their faith.
- Lose your focus and you lose your way: give examples.
- In your experience, what is most likely to distract you from your faith in Christ?
- Other than Jesus himself, who models faith for you?
- What helps keep faith alive and vibrant?