Runner’s Rule: Keep your eyes on Jesus, but your nose on Satan.
Verse: Hebrews 12:1 & 2 – Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
In Hebrews eleven Paul reveals to us the best runners of the old covenant as an example for us. The summary of the chapter in verses thirty seven to forty is this; all these put before us as our best examples were losers. They never saw what they struggled so much for. Yet Paul lists them as the best of the best in life’s race. Why is that? It is because of what God values. Being a winner in the kingdom of God does not always conform to success as defined in our western culture. Success in the kingdom of God is to keep pressing on toward the goal, is too keep running the race, even when all hope of gaining the prize is gone. This is what God values in a runner. Why? Because He has put his Holy Spirit in you and He never quits on you. When you never quit God is pleased because that means you are letting Him do His work in you.
To have this kind of faith, the kind that endures no matter what until we cross the finish line of this life, is the kind of faith God values in His runners. Many get worn out and discouraged and stop somewhere in the race, but God greatly values those who cross the finish line, who keep the faith in all circumstances, regardless of how things look, even when it looks like victory will never be achieved. There is only one way to receive the power to keep on in the race with this kind of determination, in spite of the looses, in spite of the setbacks, in spite of lost hope and that is to keep our eyes on our best example of one who kept the course for us: Jesus.
What did Jesus do when it got tough? Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus endured by despising the shame. The greek word here translated despise means to devalue, to diss-esteem, to think against. Your thoughts are a powerful weapon in the fight. You must learn to think against the weights the accuser tries to put on you.
The greek word shame in 12:2 comes from a word that means disfigurement. Its telling you, when things get out of shape and don’t conform to our hopeful faith, we must keep our eyes on Jesus’ example and do as He did, we must be tough minded, think against it, and keep the course. We must not think what the circumstances or Satan tempts us to think: that we are failures, that we are finished, that God is not trustworthy, that we will not endure, that hope is gone! No. We must fight to stay in the race in the battleground of our minds, by turning our eye away from the lie and by keeping our eye fixed on the Life. For those who learn how to dwell in the shadow of the Almighty, youth is renewed, strength returns, they lift up as if on the wings of an Eagle, and that Eagle is the Holy Spirit ministering new strength in us as we keep our eye on Him.
Verse: 2 Corinthians 2:11 – Keep Your Nose On Satan
While your eyes see your nose smells and that function is closely equated with discernment. We often say, “Something smells rotten,” meaning we sense something out of line, something disfigured, something contrary to God’s promise. Yes, our primary activity is eyes on Jesus, but the secondary activity is smell, or discern the tactic of the enemy. In your peripheral vision you see what the enemy is doing. By very meaning of his name we know that Satan is an accuser. As you read scripture in the next few days, every where you see the name Satan replace that with the word accuser and the verse will reveal new truth for you.
As you run the race the accuser stands by the track and taunts you with lies. He wants you to believe your stumble means failure. He wants you to believe that your shortcoming will negate the purpose of God in your life. He wants you to believe that your setback is permanent. But, if you will endure, if you will despise, reject, devalue his disfigurement of the situation, you can and will run and win the race!
By keeping your eyes on Jesus, by knowing the tactics of the enemy and rejecting them, you can find the way and will to keep on keeping on. Our accuser is a master at manipulating the facts. His accusations are subtle, sly and sinister. Any believer you find sidelined you can be sure that he has believed the accusation. All of us are accused, but the question is do you receive it? You must understand, just because an accusation is based on truth does not mean it is true, for the best accusations begin based on a truth. But the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this; an outcome in the past doesn’t control the outcome of the future, unless you believe it does. When you stay in the race you give God a chance to take the set back and turn it into a set up – for victory.
The Prime Ingredient for Victory
To often we value the truth of the present situation over the truth of the Word, the truth of what God will do, given something to work with. Staying in the race gives God that something He can work through to bring you your victory. Your resolve, your stamina, your persistent rejection of the accusations and persistent acceptance of God’s promises gives Him the prime ingredient He needs to set you up for victory: movement. Those sidelined do not cross the finish line of victory because they fail to do one thing and one thing only; they stop moving. If in the present moment you are going through hell, then my best advise to you is – keep going! In the kingdom you do not create the victory, for Jesus has already won the victory – you cannot win what is already yours! What you can do is respond to that victory already won by faithfully deciding to move forward, toward that victory, as if it is yours, even when everything says it isn’t.
The Great Distraction
If you stay in the race, if you keep going, if you patiently endure (James 1:4) then you will come to the place where you are complete and lack no good thing! What does James say to do? Ask for wisdom. What is wisdom? Simply this: keep your eyes on Jesus and your nose on Satan and patiently grow into the wisdom to know the difference between facts and truth, between what the accuser is saying and what Jesus is saying about how to act, how to move forward in your situation. Many are sidelined by subtle accusations that cause them to turn aside, take their eyes off the finished line, stop running the race and spend all their time and energy trying to win a victory that is already theirs, won by Jesus and given as a gift.
Verse: Philippians 3:13, 14 – Press On, Run With Endurance
Running with endurance means you keep your eyes tuned on Jesus and your nose tuned on the the accuser so that your actions line up with the truth of the Word, even over the facts of the situation. When you keep your eyes on the promises in both confession and in action, the sapping, distracting, draining activity of the accusation stops and your full energy goes to the race. When you keep our eyes on Jesus, your Victor, energy to keep in the race and to keep moving forward victory floods in. Begin to run in rest, that the victory is yours – because it is!