A similar principle applies as we seek to follow Jesus as individuals and as a congregation. It is easy to be distracted by the myriad of things that are required of us, and so we often have difficulty focusing on what is most important.
The author of Hebrews offers a most helpful antidote in this regard: “Let us run the race set before us with endurance, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of (our) faith” (Hebrews 12:1,2).
The original Greek suggests turning away from things that are distracting in order to focus on Jesus. The sense is that we cannot effectively follow Him while looking in multiple directions. If you have ever watched elite athletes run the 100 metre dash, you understand what the author of Hebrews is getting at. The best way to run a race is to fix your sight on the finish line. Looking around you will slow you down.
Likewise, the follower of Jesus maximizes his progress by fixing his attention on Jesus.
On July 25, at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk, I delivered a message (listen to the audio below) on this text urging the congregation I serve to focus on what matters most. I asserted that if Christ was to be of any benefit to us, He needed to be more than a Sunday thing. I implored the congregation here to make following Jesus the centre of their focus while providing some suggestions as to how we can do this.
This isn’t simply a case of setting aside “bad things” for Jesus. Fixing our eyes on Him may require diminishing our attention to some very good and noble things in order to better focus on Jesus, “the main thing”.