“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day… So we don’t look at the troubles we see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” -2 Corinthians 4:16, 18
We can fool ourselves. A person can give up and yet still keep going. You do what has to be done. People see you and see nothing different. But inside… inside you have given up, become discouraged, leaking hope… So, how do I move from giving up to never give up? I am promised that The Spirit renews my spirit every day. To not give up I must pay attention to what God is always doing for me, for us – renewing me… daily. How do I do that? How do I see what God is doing in and around me when circumstances look and smell like the bottom of a trash can that has held trash for too long? I am to fix my gaze on to the eternal, rather than the moment, the temporary. Anything I see in my circumstances is temporary; temporary because God will change them, and temporary because of the eternal life I will experience when Jesus comes again. It all comes down to where I fix my gaze. If I fix my gaze on circumstances, then I have focused on my inability to “fix” it. When I fix my gaze on the unseen, I focus on Jesus, His promises, the presently unseen things He is doing. And, ultimately, my gaze is on the eternal.
Father, turn my gaze in the right direction, and give me eyes to catch glimpse of what you are doing in and around me.
Readings: Luke 20, 2 Corinthians 4, 1 John 3, Romans 8
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus…” -Hebrews 12:1-2a
God has a plan for each of our lives. Each one unique to us. Here it is described as a race. God has set a race before me/you. I am called to run this race with endurance… endurance! I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I want to quit. I don’t want to keep going, to hang in there, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I want to sit. I want to do something, almost anything else. I get tired of it being hard, whether relationships, goals, personal matters, or ministry. I have had enough more times than I can count (sometimes in just one week). But God calls me to run with endurance – to keep going. This race is not won by being first or the best. It is won by enduring, finishing.
How do we endure? We keep our eyes on Jesus. We remind ourselves of what He endured and we continue on. We keep our eyes on Jesus for His strength to go on. We keep our eyes on Jesus instead of the pain or heartache. We keep our eyes on Jesus to avoid complaining because complaining is filled with excuses and reasons to quit. We fix our eyes on Jesus for Him to remind us that He has set our course for our good and His glory. And so, we choose to endure no matter how slow we move.
With my eyes on Jesus and the choice to endure hurt feelings no longer rule my life. With my eyes on Jesus and the choice to endure faith is restored in what God wants to do in ministry. With my eyes on Jesus and the choice to endure troubled relationships have Divine guidance for me to do everything I am to do. With eyes on Jesus and the choice to endure, others will be inspired by what Christ can do through someone willing to live by faith. With my eyes on Jesus and the choice to endure faith becomes real – tangible. It produces courage.
Father may my eyes have laser focus on Jesus and may my will be resolved to endure with you.
Readings: 2 Corinthians 6, Hebrews 12, Psalm 94, Isaiah 53