“We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection.”
Hebrews 12:2 TPT
The enemy only has one strategy. To take your eye off the prize. What is the prize? Well, surely if there is a race, there should be a prize? Even Paul said that we should run in such a way that we would obtain the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Here is where I have found one of the biggest challenges in running the race set before me. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul writes about discipline. He adds that, if a true athlete exercises self-control and discipline for a perishable crown, shouldn’t we train much harder for a crown that will last for eternity? The crown of a victor.
Self-control and discipline have not been my personal strengths; quite the opposite, in fact. I have had limited experience of it in the physical arena, and I use to be a little bit wonky in the spiritual arena as well. I would often make myself feel better by concluding that I don’t have to be “religious” about my faith.
But there is a big difference in being religious and being in relationship with the author and finisher of my faith. I am not disciplining myself to be righteous, that is a simple gift. A state of being that doesn’t fluctuate based on my performance. However, discipline is the vehicle that keeps us in our lane. It keeps us focussed. Focussed on the prize. Our exceedingly great reward (Genesis 15:1).
Focus is everything! And that is why the enemy loves to distract, divide and divert. Just like the A-team (ha!), who are usually outnumbered, the enemy has these three techniques and they work like a bomb. He get us distracted by the cares of life. He loves to cause division, knowing the power of unity among believers and in the end we are diverted from the lane we were supposed to run in. The common aim of all his strategies, is to get our attention of the prize? To shift our attention from Jesus, the originator and the perfecter of our Faith. And this is why:
As we focus on Jesus, we are transformed.
Our discipline should be focussed on beholding Jesus. As we fill our hearts with who he is, we are transformed from glory to glory.
“We can all draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces. And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another. And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 TPT
We don’t have to focus on being perfect, but we are perfected as we focus!
As we focus on who Jesus is, we discover who we are.
Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed as we renew our minds. As we discover the Word made flesh, it starts to change us from the inside out. This is not arduous training. It is a supernatural process, the only work we have to do is to focus on Jesus. Learn more about his ways. The good news is we are already pre-programmed for this:
“For he knew all about us before we were born and he destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him.”
Romans 8:29 TPT
We are becoming as we are running.
As we focus on Jesus, he does all the work.
Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the originator and the perfecter of our faith. He is with us from the very beginning of the race and he doesn’t leave us at any point. Philippians 1:6 is a promise that the work that he started in us, will be brought to full completion. Psalm 138:8 says that he perfects that which concerns me. But this translation is my favourite:
“The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me;”
Psalm 138:8 ESV
My purpose is fulfilled as I run after Jesus.
When we run with the right focus, the race becomes enjoyable. The pressure to perform is no longer there. Our pace becomes one of obedience, rather than competition. How wonderful to run and enjoy the race.
Today, I pray that we will have the wisdom to shift our focus when the enemy comes to distract, divide and divert. May we outsmart him every time, by recalibrating our focus. May we have the self-control and discipline to run with our eye on the prize.
Run for your Life!
Today, I hear Jesus cheering: “Brilliant One! How I delight in you as you run with passion and purpose. You can run in complete peace, knowing that you have already won. Your exceedingly great reward is with you. Stay focussed! Look to me and be free. I have qualified you for the race, and I am the one who will empower you to make it all the way. Run after me, and you will not lose your way. For I am The Way. The Truth. The Life.” ❤