Looking unto Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Last summer, like the rest of Canada, I watched and cheered on our Olympic athletes. What a thrill it was to watch Andre de Grasse run the 200-metre sprint and win the Gold medal at the 2020 + 1 Olympics in Tokyo. He sure did Canada proud! Andre explained in an interview that he paces himself during the first three-quarters of every race and as he sees the finish line coming into view he pours on the power and speed and sprints to reach the finish line. Professional athletes have many setbacks and failures on the road to success but they have strategies they use to endure the years of training and intensity of each competition. They must always stay focused on the end goal – to finish strong and win.
The Christian life is also a race. It is the race of faith with endurance. But how do we endure in the face of our setbacks, failures and distractions? Life, as you know, is full of difficulties and challenges. There is only one way to finish this race. We do it by “looking unto Jesus.” We keep our eyes fixed on the prize so we too can finish strong and win.
We Rely on Jesus
The life of Jesus is our example and we are to follow in His footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21). He has given us new life and He encourages and helps us by His Spirit to run this race. So we look to Him and we rely on His power.
Shut Out Distractions
In a world filled with information overload and technology always vying for our attention, it’s hard to filter out the distractions and focus on what’s important. But that is what we have to do. So not only do we look to Jesus, at the same time we are to look away from everything and everybody else and just look toward Him. We are to turn away from all the earthly stuff that we draw energy from like the love of possessions, the approval of others and our own egos that make us think we can do it all ourselves, and look exclusively unto Jesus. We must continually, turn our attention toward Him. Anything else is just an empty pursuit.
Jesus is Our Provider
Jesus died to provide a way back to the Father. His death also provided a way to eliminate all of the effects of the curse that sin brought into the world. He provided wholeness, healing, provision, forgiveness of sin, freedom from shame and freedom from the bondages that come with sin. To access these provisions, we have to live our lives “looking unto Jesus.” If we don’t look to Him to provide the things He died to give us, they will never be a reality in our everyday lives.
Jesus is Our Reward
Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus looked at “the joy set before Him.” Joy was His reward. He longed to be seated at the right hand of His Father where He would find joy. That was His finish line and it is where He fixed His gaze. It’s the only way He could endure all the suffering on the cross.
The reward of an Olympic athlete is a medal. The reward for Jesus was to see His Father. Our reward will be to see Jesus face to face someday - very soon. He is the reason that we run in this race we call life. Imagine what it will be like to look into the eyes of Jesus, to literally hear His voice call us by name and to feel His touch on our shoulder. What an incredible reward for living our lives looking unto Jesus. He is everything we will ever need!