Eyes Set on the Prize

Rainbow, Roadway, Beautiful, Landscape, Country Road

image: Pixabay

I was sorting through some electronic “post its” yesterday, and found a note to consider a post on the topic of having a goal in mind, and living to meet the goal.  It was one of the last substantive Bible discussions/studies that Dianne and I did together, and it is all the more relevant now as she has gone on to her destination.  It is now up to me (and each of us) to hold to our own paths.

The passage we were looking at is Proverbs 4:25-27, “Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.  Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” What a wonderfully concise reminder of how to reach a goal!

Step one – “look straight ahead.”  Don’t look about at the distractions that surround us.  But at the path before us.

Step two – “fix your gaze.”  Put simply “keep your eyes on the prize.”  Know what that goal is, and focus on it wholeheartedly.

Step three – “give care thought to the path.”  Know your route.  Have the road map in mind so that you are not led to detours.  And knowing the path be careful of your steps.  Stumbling blocks may well be there, so anticipate them and give thought to the path.

Step four – “be steadfast.”  Keep on going!  Okay a breather might seem appropriate from time to time – a time to stop and take stock of your progress.  But that doesn’t mean stop going forward in the long term.   Neither does it mean that you rest upon your laurels or think you have gone far enough.  Make sure you complete the whole journey.  If you were trying to spend the day at the beach, you are hardly going to get the chance to swim if you spend the whole day stopped at highway services half way there.

Step five – “don’t turn right or left.”  This is akin to avoiding the detours.  There may be many appealing alternative routes.  The scenery may be nicer, or some promise of a quicker arrival.  But if it is not the proven route, you may well get lost!  And Lost is where we were when we started the journey.  Who wants to “Go back to Go?”  No one wins the game by being the one that never started.

Step six – “keep your foot from evil.”  In the spiritual equivalent of obeying the traffic laws, you need to be sure to travel correctly.  Speeding, cutting up other traffic, road rage, and all the other blights of today’s travel have parallels.  We need to make our journey with prayer in our heart, scripture in our minds, and fellowship at our side.  Otherwise, is we step into the realm of the negative (sin or evil) we may fail to reach our destination.

While this is a bit of a rambling recap of  the conclusions drawn from a months old conversation it is a great reminder of how to make the journey.

Padre

Beyond The Blustery Sea

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Pastor Vince made a powerful side comment recently regarding his personal health.  In essence what he said was he that was not concerned with the outcome, as he is assured that the Lord is not going to take him, before God fulfilled his purpose with him.  The focus is on God and His plan, not our own.

Matthew 14: 25f reads, “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them [the disciples], walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God. [Italics mine]”

Jesus was walking on water.  This is clearly the act of God. It defies the laws of reason and of nature.  But what happens next is powerful.  Peter, a mere man, is allowed, with Jesus’ invitation, to join Him.  His sight was on the divine.  His goal was to be with his Lord.

Then Peter is distracted.  He takes his eyes off the object of his desire, his goal.  He sees the wind and the waves, and he sinks.  Wow!  Aren’t we like that?  We start off with great intentions.  We are on fire for our Lord, but the world (the symbolic wind and waves) steps in.  We lose our focus and we sink.

Thankfully, as in Peter’s case the Lord is there to reach out a hand and remind us of His presence.

I am thankful to the Lord for that assurance in the account of Peter.  And I am thankful for the example of godly men and women like Vince, that look beyond the blustery sea of life, and into the face of the Lord.

May we all do like-wise.

Padre