When you focus on how others are running the race it will either fill you with pride, if you are running faster than them. Or if you are not running faster it will lead you into discouragement. We must get our eyes on Christ and His perfect performance.
Brethren, it’s all about what Jesus is; not what we are that gives us the power, and the vigor, and the revival to run this race. I’ll tell you this: the devil wants your eyes anywhere and everywhere, except on Christ. I mean morality? Oh yeah! Spirituality? Better believe it! Even reading good books? Be sure of it. Even doing good things in the Christian life, being involved with good works and ministry? You better believe it! Anything to distract you from Christ. He can’t take the Christian out – not the true ones.
And I don’t know if he actually knows the true ones. I don’t know if he knows that. In fact, I rather suspect he knows, like we know, the indications of true Christianity. But I think he’s bent on the total destruction of all. But if he sees the signs are there – he’s seen this the past 6,000 plus years. He knows the signs of God’s people. And when he sees them, if he can’t destroy you, he wants your eyes off of Christ. Because he wants to weaken you and make you as ineffective as possible. Lost or saved, he wants your eyes off Christ because there is Life there, and there is power, and there is hope, and there is salvation. Get your eyes off other men!
You’re just running the race, and then you look over at so-and-so thinking, “Oh, they’re running faster than me. I must not be saved.” What do they have to do with you? It’s like Peter and John. Here is Peter running along, looking at John, and he’s like, “What about him?” It’s like Jesus had to hit him upside his head in saying, “You follow Me. Get your eyes on Me.”
Because what happens when you look at other men? If you look at them and they aren’t running as well: pride. You just got your eyes off of Christ! Now you’ve given an opportunity to the flesh, making provision for the flesh. Your eyes are on brother so-and-so, and if you’re out running him, you’re all puffed up. If you’re not running as well as he is, now you’re all discouraged. ‘Well, if I can’t run as well as them, I don’t want to run at all.” Get your eyes on Christ.
And oh, we’ve talked about this, how often people look at their circumstances! They look at their circumstances. Again let’s use Peter. “Peter! What’s going on? You’re walking on water! I mean your eyes are glued on Christ and something is flowing from Him to you that makes you walk on water!” But then he got to looking at his circumstances. He got his eyes off Christ. And immediately, I mean if there is ever a picture of the channel being broken, immediately! You see, your problem is not eliminating the storm! The problem is keeping your eyes focused where they need to be.
And brethren, just think about it. Here God designs Christianity and He says, “Okay. The way that you’re going to succeed in this race. is to set your eyes on the most beautiful object that there is. I want you to set your eyes on Him who is perfect excellence. On Him that has unparalleled beauty.” I mean think, that is what God did. He said, “I want you to behold Him who is altogether lovely.” I mean does that sound like torture? That God would say, “This is how you’ll find strength, and energy, and help to run this race. I want you to behold Him who is altogether glorious to behold.”