Be prepared! The turning of the calendar from 2019 to 2020 will bring with it an endless amount of references to 20/20 vision. From presidential candidates to fitness coaches, many will capitalize on the year by offering to fill what has been lacking in your lives. They propose an alternate vision for what is possible for your life and future when you heed their counsel or give them your vote. The not-so-subtle implication will be that your vision has been less than 20/20 and they can make it all better.
As we look back upon the past, there have certainly been many things that were lacking our lives. Such problems are not the result of the failures of politicians or organizations, but have come as a result of sin. Our homes, our towns, our country, even our world have all been marred by the devastating effects of lives where we have cast our eyes inward. We have sought to serve our own appetites and our own desires, which means that we are incredibly near-sighted. We can’t see beyond ourselves and no corrective vision procedure will change that.
The writer to the Hebrews describes how the Christian is enabled to run with perseverance the race that has been marked out for us. Christians run this race with our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is both the means by which we run and the prize waiting for us at the end of the race. John Kleinig describes our running in his commentary on Hebrews, “They gain the capacity to endure in the race of faith by keeping their eyes fixed on Jesus rather than on their fellow athletes as models of endurance. Since he is the one and only champion, the list of faithful people in 11:4-12:2 culminates with him as ‘the author and finisher of our faith,’ the forerunner who has completed the race.”
Therefore, our vision for 2020 is the same as it was in 2019 or 1847 or 1517, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. For the people of God, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus is not an excuse for apathy and indifference, but a source of courage and boldness. We face the results of our sin with the assurance that our sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ. We are active in our communities, not motivated by a fear of the future, but a confidence that our future is in God’s hands. As the world attacks those who bear the name of Christ, we endure all things by keeping our eyes solely on Jesus. Jesus Christ is our vision.
While Stephen occupies just a few verses of the Scriptures, he is a testimony of how the Christian lives and dies. When the Jews heard Stephen confront them with their sin, they began to stone him. In Acts 7: 56-60, he dies with his eyes cast keenly on Jesus. Then, into Jesus’ hands, He commits his spirit.
Dear friends in Christ, we are blessed to face this life with our eyes focused on Jesus and revealed to us in His Word. May God bless you, your family and your congregation that you may begin this new year and face each new day with a clear vision of eyes fixed on Jesus. A blessed January and new year to you all!
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan