Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Posted on Nov 16, 2014

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith”—Hebrews 12:2a

Having grown up in the country I was around farm animals quite a bit; cattle mostly, but horses too. Most of the time they were of the riding variety, but once in a while I got to see the big draft horses. They were always so impressive.

In the last church that my dad pastored there was a couple, Glen and Marion Ferber, who raised Percheron work horses. These were big black beauties. One of them, a stallion, measured seventeen hands high at the shoulder. That’s nearly seventy inches. Big as they were they were well behaved and responded well to their handlers. These horses were used mostly for show, but they were broke to harness.

On winter, I think it was around Christmas time, the Ferbers harnessed their black beauties to a wagon and took some of the people from the church on a hay ride around their farm. It was a sunny, but frosty, day and the snow crunched under the horses enormous hooves. The bells on the harnesses jingled as the horses swayed back and forth in stride.

A key part of the harness that the horses wear that day was the blinders. Blinders are a head gear that shield the eyes of the horses so that they can only see straight ahead. This is to eliminate the distractions that might spook the horses and cause them to bolt, which would not be good. They also direct the horse’s attention to the trail in front of them.

These blinders serve to illustrate a key spiritual principle for those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They suggest the need that each one of us has to keep our eyes straight ahead, focused on the pathway that Christ has laid out for us, and, ultimately, to keep our eyes on Him as the One we are to follow, the One after whose likeness we are to be formed.

We need this reminder because we sometimes have the tendency to turn attention away from Christ to those around us and to make judgments about our own faithfulness to Christ based upon how we appear to stack up against others. Sometimes we draw encouragement from these comparisons because, although we know that we are not everything that we should be as a Christian, at least we are not like ______________________ . Sometimes these judgments dishearten us because ________________________ seems so much more godly than I do.

Whether these judgments encourage or discourage us they are not valid. They are not valid because there is only one who sets the standard for who and what we ought to be as believers in Jesus. That is. Jesus himself. As Hebrews 12:2a says, we are to keep our eyes on him.

Now, in the context, these instructions are given to believers who are suffering and Jesus is set before them as a model of the One who endured to the end. Be that as it may, the principle has a broader application. It applies to all believers in all situations. It sets for the example after which we are to be modeled. Jesus is the One after whose likeness we are to be shaped.

For this reason, there are times when we need to put on blinders to shield our eyes from being diverted from Christ to those around us when we are tempted to look and compare ourselves with others. We need to ask the Spirit of God to strengthen us not to do that, but rather, to keep our eyes fully directed toward the Lord Jesus. He is the path were are to travel. He is the destination toward which we are moving; His likeness formed in us. Often times we fall far short, but God is gracious. He is patient, longsuffering, and gentle in His dealings with us. He will not scold us if we seek His wisdom and strength in order to be faithful to Christ.

Saying this does not mean that we cannot learn from other by observing the lives of faithful believers. Certainly we can. In fact, we are instructed to look at the lives of faithful saints and follow them—but always and only as they follow Christ. The point is simply that Christ is our model. His is our standard. So, ultimately, keeping our eyes on Him is our critical concern.

Traversing the pathway with you, Pastor Guy