Focusing Forward—Following Christ (Proverbs 4:25-27)
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. —Proverbs 4:25-27
It was impending doom! I knew it, but couldn’t stop. My first day on a 2-wheeler, and I was concentrating completely on the ground ahead of me when I heard my Dad call out, “Look out for the tree!” I jerked my head up and—there it was—straight ahead of me. Of course, I wanted to not hit the tree so I knew I had to turn the handle bars…but I kept looking at the tree I shouldn’t hit, and my bicycle would go where my eyes led! Sure enough, the bike and tree collided and sent me face first into the bark. I learned something from this, but didn’t really get it until I connected it with what I learned later from baseball. Dad was coaching me on how to hit a ball; from the sidelines he would yell, “Keep your eye on the ball! Keep your eye on the ball.” So I did…and learned how to pop a ball with gusto and accuracy. My big lesson from those early days is, ‘If you want to hit something, keep your eyes on it, and don’t lose your focus!’
My Dad could have written the first line of our verses for this week! “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze straight before you.” Our Fighter Verse is saying, “Keep your eyes on the ball! Don’t be diverted!” But on what—or on whom—should we set such an unflinching gaze? We know the answer, don’t we?!
The writer of Hebrews says we should be “Looking to Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith!” And Jesus tells us in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So it is Jesus who is the One on whom we must focus and who we will follow!
This walk requires commitment and concentration. What might divert our attention or prevent us from following Him? Certainly all things that are evil…let not lying, nor blasphemous talk, nor filthy joking, nor adultery, nor theft, nor murder, nor cheating, nor gossip be named once among us! We must turn our feet from evil (as well as our eyes, our ears and our hearts). We want to be holy, for our great Lord Jesus is holy.
But swerving to the right and left? What is the author of this passage cautioning us about? Perhaps things that are not sin in themselves could cause us to swerve; perhaps amusements…diversions…could steal our affections from things spiritual. There are countless options for play and pleasure available to us in this generation…if we fill our days with many of them, they will become no longer diversions, but dissipation. For if we do set our eyes on them, we know we very well may follow them until they capture our attentions, our time, our money and our desires. We need to ponder our paths here…do we spend more money and time on temporal pursuits than we do on our Bible study and memorization, our prayer, or in concerns for missions and mercy to the needy? 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 reminds us, “For the love of Christ controls us…He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.”
The Word instructs us to keep our eyes on Jesus! Follow hard after Him…and He will make all your paths sure and straight! I challenge every believer, to choose Christ daily. Ignore the siren songs of pleasure! Let’s spend our time doing the good works He has ordained for us to do and in seeking the face of our God!
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace!” By Helen H. Lemmel
First thing in the morning, through prayer, seek God’s presence and help with every event, every encounter, every decision that will come to you.
Throughout the day, pray for grace to choose activities and relationships that will delight God’s heart and build His kingdom.
At the end of the day, give praise to God for His constant help, His abiding love, and His leading you forward throughout the day.