Teaching Series Introduction: All Being Well? (Find true wellbeing)
The Series: There is no doubt about it. For many of us, these last few months have been pretty tough. So, how are you, really? This summer teaching series helps us take a deep and refreshing look at how you’re really doing. And, we’ll begin to discover what true wellbeing looks like for your life right now, regardless of the chaos around.
Bible Focus: Using the stunning words of encouragement from the book of Hebrews in the Bible (Chapter 12, verses 1-3) as our backdrop, we will consider some incidents in the life of the first disciples as we do a summer health check and unpack how to stay spiritually and emotionally fit for the journey ahead.
Title: Eyes On The Prize (Choosing who you’re following)
By: Elena Kappers
Date: 16 August 2020 (Online Service)
Hebrews (Chapter 12, verse 2)
Mathew (Chapter 14, verses 22-32)
2 Corinthians (Chapter 4, verses 7-15)
Choosing who you’re following is crucial in any journey! If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, everything slots into place because he is the one who is both the saviour and sustainer. And so, it’s so crucial to keep focussed on him, and growing on our trusting relationship with him, just like Peter.
Pause for thought:
These last few months have been quite a journey! For some, the path has meant grappling with grief or battling this vicious virus. For others of us, the journey has been less brutal, but challenging nonetheless. In any journey it’s crucial to follow someone who knows where they are going, so that we choose the right path for the journey ahead.
Growing in Jesus…it is by fixing our focus on him, and what he has done, that enables us to walk difficult paths in life.
These past few months have been quite a journey. For many of you, you’ve had challenges such as tackling a virus or losing loved ones. For others, there have been other challenges just happening in the world every day. Whatever it has been, I know that lots of you may have felt some doubt in your faith and struggles with your relationship with God. As a teen I can definitely attest to having many doubts about my faith, which I’m sure is the case for others, young and old.
I think especially during this pandemic time, it’s easy to lose sight of why we have a faith at all and why we follow God and choose to follow him. From the today’s reading, it’s obvious that Paul also had these doubts and these fears that controlled his life. You have little faith, Jesus said. Why do you doubt? If we learn all the time that God is all powerful, all loving, all seeing, then why should we have doubts?
Well, that’s what makes us human! it is OK to have doubts and fears. We just have to realise and come back to; why do we choose to have faith? and why should we choose to follow Jesus and keep our eyes fixed on him?. So why? why do we do that? Well, while there are many reasons why one should follow Jesus, there are two that I especially feel link towards the idea of fixing your eyes on Jesus and focusing your life on him now.
1. Jesus is a sustainer for humanity.
The first one being that Jesus is a sustainer for humanity. Faith is a constant growing relationship with God. We can’t simply just state we want to follow him without actively changing our actions and our words to fit this resolve. In the comedy sketch we watched this morning, we saw the consequences of not focusing on the right action or thing, and our relationship with God is a little bit like that. If we don’t focus on growing and nurturing our belief, then how are we ever going to reach where God wants us to be?
We may sometimes become frustrated with the apparent lack of progress, not being able to see the forest from the trees. So it’s good from time to time to take a step back and see how God has been working in our lives. God makes big changes through a series of little ones. We need to learn to trust God for the little things so that we can enjoy great change. We need to trust God daily so that we can enjoy yearly growth and like any other growing experience, living by faith takes one step at a time.
So by growing in a relationship with God, we are allowing him to change our lives and sustain us how he wants to sustain us. We need to fix our eyes on the eternal gifts God gives and only through choosing to follow him and grow in that relationship, is that true and possible.
2. Jesus saves us through the difficult times.
Now, the second point I’d like to bring up as to why this idea of fixing our eyes on God is so vital for all of us, is to do with the effect God has on our lives when we choose to follow him. This is choosing to follow Jesus because he is what saves us through the difficult times.
As I’ve mentioned before, some of you may have found it very difficult to cope during this past year. There may have been other times, I’m sure, during your life where you’ve struggled with something. Even though God is all powerful and all loving, it doesn’t mean we won’t have to face any difficulties when we choose to follow him for our life. But it does mean that we may be able to better cope and understand those situations later on.
There’s a beautiful poem called Footprints in the Sand by Margaret Fishback Powers that looks at this idea of God’s continuous guidance and help through difficult times. Some of you may already know it, but just reflect upon it for a moment and try to relate it perhaps to your own life and to the difficult situations that you may have faced.
‘One night I dreamed a dream. I was walking along the beach with my lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to me and one to my lord. When the last scene of my life shot before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realised that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma. Lord, you told me when I decided to follow you, you would walk and talk with me all the way. But I am aware that during the most troublesome times of my life, there’s only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I need you most, you leave me! He whispered. My precious child. I love you. And will never leave you never, ever during your trials and testing’s. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.‘
The message of that poem shows the importance of walking alongside Jesus through life. Keeping your eyes fixed on him is crucial for us to both grow in our relationship with him and face any struggles that we might have.
I don’t know where you are in your faith journey, but I just want to encourage you to look at your relationship with God and see whether you are truly fixing your eyes fully on him. Faith is a journey and there are definitely going to be ups and downs, but it’s always important to acknowledge them and how God helps you through. So I just want to finish off by challenging you this week to see how you can grow in your relationship with God and fix your life more towards him.
How will you choose to actively follow Jesus? Have a blessed week.