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Where is your focus?

I started the six grade with a black eye. It wasn’t the result of a fight. It was the mark of an important lesson learned: Keep your eyes forward.

I still remember to this day what happened. We were at the old mall. Not Madison Square, but "The Mall" at the corner of University and the Parkway. This was the mid-90's, so about all that was left at that point was a shoe store and Toys"R"Us.

The Mall, 1998

In the front of the mall there was a covered sidewalk with a series of columns holding up the overhang.

As we were walking down that sidewalk, a dude whizzed by on his skateboard. As he passed he jumped and pulled off a gnarly backside heel flip with a Superman grab (I have no idea what any of that is). Of course I turned to watch and WHAM! Left eye meets corner of one of those unforgiving columns.

Yes, it hurt. And it left a mark, a reminder to always keep your eyes forward.

I believe this was the message Jesus had in mind in John 12. I like the way the Message paraphrases verses 24 and 25:

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”

Where is your focus?

We, as humans, have a tendency to want to look back at our past failures. We allow our past to become the focus instead of keeping our eyes fixed ahead.

If you are in Jesus, you are no longer just a sinner. You are redeemed to move forward. He has gone to prepare a place for you because you have an eternal home with him straight ahead (John 14:2-3).

Jesus says let go of the hurt. Let go of your failure. Love recklessly. Live in hope. And, look forward.