April 4-5, 2009
Faith and Focus
by Charles R. Swindoll
Like the races that were run by those heroes we looked at yesterday in the "hall of faith" of Hebrews chapter 11, our race isn't an easy one. Far from it. The first verse of Hebrews 12 urges us to "run with endurance the race that is set before us." The original Greek term that is translated "race" is ah-go-na (pronounced with a long "o"), from which we get our word "agony." Life is tough sledding for most people, not unlike an agonizing marathon filled with challenges and tests.
And so, in order for us to endure it, we need to "lay aside every encumbrance"---all the things that distract us and keep us from running well---and "the sin which so easily entangles us" (Hebrews 12:1). In the context of the previous chapter on faith, this no doubt refers to the sin of unbelief. To stay active and strong from one day to the next, needless distractions must be laid aside and strong faith must be applied.
Faith in what? A better question would be faith in whom? The next verse tells 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 12:2)
That's the ticket. Just as a runner in a race fixes his or her attention on the tape at the end of the distance being run, we're to fix our minds only on Christ. The original word translated "fixing" suggests the idea of looking away from everything else and staying focused fully on Jesus Christ our Lord. There is no better way to endure life's race than that.
Do you know Christ? Have you placed your faith and trust in Him and Him alone? If you havenot, the secret for you---before you start running this race---is FAITH! Faith alone in Christ alone.
If you have placed your faith in Christ, the secret for you---as you are running this race---is FOCUS! Focus alone on Christ alone.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.