There are so many things today that is designed specifically to distract us from God. Some of those things are in our face everyday while others seem minor but gradually chip away our attention without us realising it.
I previously held a position at a company that provided online users with voucher codes. Several features we developed on the website were strategically designed to capture people's interest and encourage them to make purchases through enticing discounts. The website experienced an immense influx of visitors in search of discount codes. This is just one medium, there is Television, Radio and of course the billboards that flash their images at us especially in major cities in the world.
The world seems to be in frenzy to make us look for the next best thing. “Dan made a million dollars in 3 months, click here to see how you can achieve the same!” Have you seen that type of message online? Sure you have. Oh, and there are those who offer you the perfect body within 4 weeks. All you need to do is click a button for details.
It is no wonder that the writer of Hebrews penned the words, “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.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Various translations of the verse in question exist, yet the essence remains unchanged. The phrases range from "Fixing our eyes" in the NIV to "Looking unto Jesus" in the NKJV and "Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus" in the GNT. However, I find the modern translation particularly resonant: "We must never stop looking to Jesus." (ERV) This rendition underscores the perpetual nature of our need to direct our attention towards Jesus.
Reflecting on this idea, my wife and I recently embarked on a journey to Toronto, Canada, where we had the opportunity to explore Niagara Falls. The sight was truly breathtaking. We stood in awe, captivated by the magnificence of the falls, though eventually, it was time to move on. Regrettably, once we departed, that remarkable encounter became a cherished memory.
Jesus remains an enduring presence in the lives of Christians. Nevertheless, there are instances when we become diverted. While we attend church on Sundays to contemplate Jesus, we often find ourselves preoccupied with various matters from Monday through Saturday. What often escapes our notice is that once we shift our focus from Jesus, other distractions swiftly capture our attention.
In Luke 9:52-53, we read, “*Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.“.
Unwaveringly, it was evident to all, even the Samaritans, that Jesus was resolutely embarked on a purposeful journey. This brought to mind certain roads in the UK denoted as red zones. Along these routes, it is strictly prohibited by law to halt, load, or unload a vehicle. Jesus was traversing this metaphorical red zone, impervious to distractions, as His ultimate destination was Jerusalem. It comes as no surprise that the author of Hebrews employed the same term to encourage us to fix our gaze upon Jesus.
As disciples of Christ, we are similarly entrusted with a mission, yet we can only fulfil this mission by consistently fixing our attention on Christ. This act of looking to Jesus is both intentional and continuous. Our aim is to infuse every action, choice, or decision with a Christ-centred perspective.
The tumultuous sea of modern life churns with a constant barrage of distractions, each vying for our attention and allegiance. Yet, in the midst of this cacophony, the call to fix our gaze on Jesus stands as an unwavering beacon of guidance and solace. The words of Hebrews resound as a timeless reminder—a call to lift our eyes to the unchanging source of our faith, Jesus Christ. As we navigate the ebbs and flows of our daily lives, we must recognise the seductive nature of distractions and the ease with which they can divert us from our spiritual course.
Ultimately, the choice to fix our gaze on Jesus is an assertion of our faith, a declaration that amidst the cacophony of distractions, there exists a steady anchor for our souls. As we heed this call, we discover not only a renewed sense of purpose but also a sanctuary of peace amid life's tumult. In the midst of the world's ever-shifting landscape, the unchanging presence of Jesus beckons us to look beyond the distractions, setting our sights on the eternal and enduring truth that resides in Him.