“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector 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.”
The Red Dot
If you’ve never owned a cat, I’m sure you have at least seen funny cat videos online. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat, but be sure to set a timer – the next time you look up, hours will have passed. I saw a video recently of cat after cat, time and time again dropping everything to chase a red laser-pointer dot. Anytime the dot appears, it’s game over and their attention is immediately redirected. There’s no stopping to think about it, it’s immediate. The cat could have been eating, playing with something else, or sitting and relaxing, and then all of a sudden – PING! WHOOSH! All you see is a streak of fur dashing down the hall to chase this red dot. Cats will try to run up walls, jump onto counters, off of couches, and into boxes that are ever so slightly and deliberately balanced just at the top of the stairs. All of this to try to catch this little red dot. Watching these cats made me think about all of the many things in life we chase. We chase after money, we chase after careers, we chase after people, we chase after ideas, we chase after knowledge…and if there’s enough time at the end of the day, we might chase after God. We each need to refocus on God because we get so easily distracted.
Listening to Jesus
Jesus is straightforward. Yes, Jesus taught in parables, but when it came to the really important stuff, he was candid. “Follow me”, “love each other”, “seek me and you will find me”, “ask me and you will receive”, “put me first”, and “remember me.” These are all clear and concise commands. This is a blessing for my analytical brain because I tend to over-think and complicate everything. In a world full of confusion it’s so good to have a Messiah who is straightforward!
Focus on Jesus
With all of the “red dots” in our lives, it is so important to keep our focus on Jesus. For some people the red dot is Facebook, for some it may be inappropriate humor, for others, the red dot is ditching responsibility to ‘have fun’. The red dot can be anything that takes our focus away from God. The enemy is fixing traps for us and baiting us with these little red dots. The enemy knows that we may not jump into a trap willingly, but we might if we are distracted by chasing after something. What will it mean for you if you finally catch this red dot? You have to count it as loss. You may argue that what you’re dreaming and chasing after is not inherently a bad thing, but despite any good intentions we may have, if anything is taking God’s place in the center of our lives, it has to go. We can’t want that dream or goal or project more than we want Jesus.
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” -Philippians 3:7-8