January 4, 2017
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
Focus matters, maybe more than anything else. Whatever captures our focused attention captures us. Focused people usually get where they are going while the rest of us tend to wander wearing t-shirts that say things like, “Not everyone who wanders is lost.”
From today’s text we see a direct connection between the eyes and the heart. Interestingly, though the heart is the control center for our lives (i.e. our will, affections, dispositions and aspirations), our most significant navigational instrument is our eyes. Jesus said one’s eyes are the window into their soul. (see Matthew 6:22)
The Apostle Paul brought these ideas together in profound wisdom in his prayer for the Ephesians (and us).
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
When I was about fourteen, the sacrosanct challenge of planting soybeans fell to me after the designated planter became disabled. I jumped on the tractor and launched out into the field. I would look over the left front tire for a while and then the right front tire for a while and then just over the hood to keep things in balance—or so I thought. You see, the most important skill a planter must possess is the ability to plant straight rows. One of the old men on the farm dove up on the turn-row and flagged me down. He gently let me know that it looked as though I was planting under the influence of some vision altering substance. My rows were anything but straight, and I suspect he was the one who would have the impossible task of plowing them later in the growing season. I will never forget what he told me.
He said, “John David, if you want to plant straight rows, you have to pick out a tree on the far end of the field and keep your eyes focused on that tree and drive straight to it.”
And wonder of wonders, my planting rows miraculously straightened.
There’s a tree on the horizon of all of our lives. It is the hallmark sign of the greater vision for which we were all created. It must become the focal point of our every day walking around experience. I think you know the one I’m talking about. Hear Paul again as we close:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2.
Abba Father, open the eyes of my heart that I might behold your son on the horizon of my vision. Grant me the spirit of wisdom and revelation that I might know you better. Come Holy Spirit and enlarge my heart by focusing my sight. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.
1. How might we assess the condition of our own hearts and on what our gaze is presently fixed?
2. What if every morning you found a way to fix your gaze on Jesus before you did anything else? What would that take? How would it take shape for you?
3. What do you think would happen in your life if Jesus and his Kingdom became not just one aspiration among others (or worse–stuck in a religious box), but the singular focus of your life?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.