The Undistracted Gaze (Hebrews 12:1-2)

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In his latest book, Awe: Why it Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do, Paul Tripp writes that every single human being:

gets up early in the morning, and without ever being aware of it, is searching constantly for awe. They have dissatisfaction in their souls, an emptiness they long to fill, and they are attracted to awesome things. That’s why they go to museums, stadium concerts, expensive restaurants, and sporting games. The little boy dreaming of Air-Jordans is just as much an awe seeker as the successful business magnate. The teenage girl going to prom is as much on a quest for awe as the woman planning the house of her dreams…Human beings are hard-wired for awe.”

The beginning of a new year gives us the opportunity to ask the all-important question: “What has captivated the gaze of my life?” The answer to this question is life-defining.

What we fix our eyes on, we move toward.

What captivates our gaze, reveals our deepest desires.

What we look to most longingly, exposes what we believe validates the worth of our life. 

We are hard-wired for awe…but we have a tendency to go searching for it in all the wrong places. For example, if what captivates our gaze is people’s acceptance, then we will be crushed by their rejection. If our life is defined by a husband/wife, child, or loved one; then we will crush them (and the relationship) with unrealistic expectation that they can never live up to. If we draw meaning in our life from pleasure, possessions, or our latest travel experiences, we will always be left wanting more. We will never have enough.

You see, every bit of joy we experience from created things, are merely tasters to whet our appetites for the feast that is to come; sign-posts pointing beyond themselves to a better destination; shadows revealing the presence of the Creator in whose image we’ve been made.

“Lord, you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” (Augustine)

The only way to run the race of faith with endurance to the end, the only way to get free of the weights that slow our pace and the sins that trip up our feet, is to be captivated by the infinitely more glorious reality of God’s love toward us in Christ!

Only in the gospel are we given a definition of life that is able to withstand the weight of life.

So as we start a new year, “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to 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. ” Hebrews (12:1-2).

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