Refocus Your Focus
Text: Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
1. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
2. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven.
3. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up.
Introduction: Saturday afternoon I went down to Lenscrafters for an eye exam. It had been over 3 years since my last exam and it was time for an update to my prescription. When I went and picked up my new glasses the following Tuesday, I was totally amazed at the difference. Suddenly I could see things off in the distance that I wouldn’t have even tried to see before because I knew I would have to squint. I remarked to the optician waiting on me that I had totally forgotten what it was like to see with 20/20 vision.
Although I wasn’t blind by any stretch of the imagination, (in fact my near vision is 20/20) I had difficulty seeing things in the distance. The worse part of this was that I had settled for blurry vision and poor focus. I was comfortable with the status quo.
It is often the same in our lives. We allow sin and circumstance to blur our vision of the prize. Just as I had every intention of going to get new glasses
1 ½ years ago, we have every intention to refocus our focus but say “oh, I’ll save that for another time.” Meanwhile we get complacent and accept our blurry vision as “just the way it is.”
Thesis: Hebrews 12 paints a clear picture for us on how to focus our Christian journey.
Transition: 5 Steps to Refocus Your Focus:
I. Surround yourself with other believers
a. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith…
b. Remember those that have gone before you so that you can be encouraged by their faith.
i. Hebrews 12:1 is a continuation of the summation started in Hebrews 11
ii. There are many who have gone before us and have kept the faith even through the toughest of times.
iii. We are to be encouraged by their faith
c. The bible also calls us to walk with other believers ans encourage one another.
i. Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners…
ii. 1 Thess 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up
iii. 1 Thess 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
d. Those that have gone before us kept the faith, and together we encourage one another.
e. It is easier to stay focused when you are
i. encouraged by the faith of those who went before you
ii. encouraged by the words of those around you
II. Deal with the things clouding your vision
a. let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.
b. Sin weighs us down, hinders our progress, and perverts our perception.
i. John 8:34 "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”
ii. When you are a slave to sin your vision of the prize is clouded.
iii. Sin starts with the perversion of our perception, and this is where our vision is clouded.
c. The Bible calls us to do whatever it takes to deal with sin
i. Matthew 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
ii. Romans 6:11-12 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
d. As we break the chains of sin, we break off what so easily hinders our progress.
III. Remember: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
a. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
b. We must remember that this journey we are on is a long one.
i. 1 Cor 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
c. Our reward is not always seen, but we do not run in vain.
i. Phil 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
d. When we keep the marathon in perspective, our focus will be clear and we can rejoice as Paul did saying I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
IV. Keep your eyes on the prize
a. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven.
b. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, our source of faith and endurance.
i. Psalm 25:15 My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
ii. 2 Chronicles 20:12 O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.
iii. Psalm 123:2 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.
iv. When we forget whom we are living for, we forget why we are living.
v. A life without vision has no purpose.
c. Just as we keep our eyes on Jesus, He kept his eyes on His Father.
i. He was willing to be obedient to death on the cross because He knew what awaited Him.
ii. Jesus kept his eyes on the prize.
V. Keep your circumstances in perspective
a. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up.
b. Circumstances can sometimes distract our focus.
c. Our circumstances and trials look pretty pale next to what Christ endured.
d. When we keep our circumstances in perspective and remember all that Christ endured, it is easier to keep fighting.
Close: As you take these steps to refocus your focus, your purpose and vision will become clearer. Let’s use this summer as an opportunity to refocus our focus and prepare for the move of God that is going to sweep across our campuses this fall.