Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good (Proverbs 4:25, NCV).
Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions (MSG).
There was a lady who had just separated from her husband. He moved on – with another woman. She, on the other hand, had a hard time moving on – with life. One day, she was traveling, but to get to her destination, she had to pass by the house that she once shared with her husband. When she saw the house, those things that were hidden in her heart – anger, rage, unforgiveness, hurt and bitterness – sprung up. Because she was so focused on what was on her left (or right), she didn’t see the road construction workers that were straight ahead and almost injured them – and her.
On Easter Sunday, we talk about what Jesus endured from Pilate’s palace to Golgotha. We talk about how He was spat on, hit on the head, mocked and beaten, but the truth is that from the time Jesus was born, He was under attack. The devil wanted to destroy him at a very young age. For Herod will seek the young child to destroy him (Matthew 2:13b). A lot of male children in Bethlehem from the age of two and younger were killed, but God watched over his word to perform it. The devil tried, but he couldn’t kill what was written and prophesied. The scriptures would be fulfilled.
Proverbs 4:25 tells us to look and keep looking straight ahead. We are to focus on our purpose and not get sidetracked by distractions (those things that take our attention away from what God wants us to do). The writer of Hebrews tells us to look to Jesus as our example (12:2). Consider what He endured and study how He endured it. He focused on what was set before Him, not behind Him. He knew His purpose. I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10). For I came down from heaven, not to do my will, but the will of Him that sent me (John 6:38). Did He ever get tired in his body? Did He feel abandoned? Did He think about giving up? My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46). Father, if it’s Your will, take this cup of suffering away from me; yet not my will, but your will be done (Luke 22:42).
He went through what He had to go through here on earth and now He is there seated at the right hand of the throne of God – and I believe one of the ways He got there was on a road called Forgiveness. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). He didn’t regard iniquity in His heart. His heart was clean. He didn’t hold any grudges. He wasn’t focused on who did Him wrong or who didn’t believe in Him or who hated Him. Those are just distractions. I don’t believe Christ would have done great works had he not forgiven. He wouldn’t have had a successful and powerful ministry had he not forgiven.
There was a time when Paul asked the church to not only forgive a brother in the Lord, but to comfort him so that he wouldn’t become bitter, discouraged and unable to recover. Please show him now that you still do love him very much (2 Corinthians 2:8, TLB). Let us not be like the servant who was forgiven and released from his huge debt, but refused to forgive the small debt of his fellowservant (Matthew 18:24, 28). If God forgave us of much, we should be able to forgive others of little. When you do this, you don’t give Satan an opportunity to defeat you or to take advantage of you (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Some people face hard times, but they don’t allow what they are going through to affect their relationship with God. They keep believing God. They keep trusting God. And then you have those who become weary and faint in their minds. I think whether it be hard times, difficult times or times where it seems like nothing is happening, they all have a way of revealing what we are really after – and it’s not always God’s own heart.
Ask yourself this question, What am I after? When the Holy Spirit begins to reveal the truth, repent of the things that shouldn’t be in your heart. In the meantime, do not turn to the right or to the left. Don’t turn away from the word of God. Don’t give up. Why quit when you haven’t even begun to do all God wants you to do yet?
You’re on the right road. Stay there. Look straight ahead. Don’t lose focus, don’t deviate or veer off and don’t get discouraged that the road you’re traveling on is only found by a few (Matthew 7:14). If you stay on the straight road long enough, whatever is crooked in you shall be made straight.
May you be strengthened daily with might by the Spirit of God in the inner man. Be encouraged and keep looking ahead.