This morning in church after worship, the pastor exhorted us with a phrase from Hebrews 12 I’ve heard so often that it usually skims over my head and drips down to the floor without me even noticing. But today I heard these words with clarity and what felt like a bolt of lightning piercing my awareness:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”
The Author of My Faith.
The faith that I have in the Lord was written by Jesus. That’s what an author does. He holds the pen…my faith life is the paper.
The Perfecter of My Faith.
My perfectionistic impulses clutched this truth because I’m always interested in improving myself…in becoming a “better” (fill in the blank…Christian, wife, mother, housekeeper, driver, writer, photographer, student, homeschool teacher, baker, cook, hairstylist, example, giver, etc…). Yet this scripture tells me that at least in terms of my faith, which happens to be THE most important aspect of my life, Jesus is the one who perfects it. Not me.
Other versions of Hebrews 12:2 put it this way:
New Living Translation: “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
Contemporary English Version: “We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.”
God’s Word Translation: “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith.”
Jesus authors, initiates, leads, and is the source of our faith. He also perfects, completes, and accomplishes the goal of our faith, which is to cross the finish line with God.
It occurred to me in that brief moment that my faith didn’t originate with me, and its completion isn’t up to me. It’s up to the One Who created it in me. I don’t have to try to have perfect faith. I don’t have to try to increase my faith with lists of spiritual checklists. It’s not up to me! All I have to do is fix my eyes. Jesus will take care of the rest!
Stepping out to the entire passage, I find great inspiration here in The Message translation:
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
In that passage, there’s only one thing we are called to do as we run the race…
Fix our eyes…not on ourselves…but on Jesus.