“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 perfecter of faith.” — Hebrews 12:1-2
Learning to drive as a teenager can be scary. I mean, sitting in the cockpit of a rolling metal death wagon while driving on the highway is a bit of pressure at fifteen years old. One of the bad habits I developed early on was a tendency to ride on the outside of the lane near the white line. I still can hear my mom’s voice in my head, “Justin, get off the white line, you’re going to run off the road!” She was right, and a few times I did. But in my mind, it was better to ride the white line than risk drifting toward the yellow and crossing over the lane.
In response to this tendency, I made a conscious effort to stop. But not long after, I had a different problem. Instead of riding the white line, I started drifting toward the yellow… Then I’d become aware of that, and start riding the white line again. Back and forth. It seemed that the more I focused on avoiding one extreme, the quicker I drifted towards the other one. I had to be aware of both lines at all times.
Interestingly, in my own life, I’ve done the same thing walking the line between arrogance and insecurity. Maybe you’re like me? For most of my life, I’ve been on either side of two extremes: overconfidence or overwhelmed. Self-righteous or self-conscious. Because of my personality, I lean towards getting down on myself. Again, in my mind, it was better to think less of myself than too much. But when I realize it’s not healthy to have such a lack of confidence, I’ll begin to drift towards the other side of the road into arrogance. Back and forth.. The problem with both self-worship and self-loathing is the same: they’re focused on me. Both are rooted in SELF. Both are distortions of the truth. Both focus on what I can do to fix and manage my own problems, and both keep me from resting in who Christ has made me to be.
I learned while driving not to focus on the lines, but to look down the road where I’m headed. It’s something you don’t think of after you’ve been driving for awhile, but it makes all the difference. When I changed my focus, I didn’t have to worry either side of the road as much. The car took care of itself.
In the same way, the beginning of Hebrews 12 reminds us to throw away the things that hinder us, and to fix our eyes on Jesus as the “pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Don’t grow weary in pursuing God by looking at other things. Don’t get distracted. When we focus our attention on Christ and who he has called us to be, he takes care of the lines on either side of the road, and we can focus on pursuing him.