Stay Focused, move straight ahead - Gabriel Stovall

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25-27)

It’s so easy to get off track in life. How many times have we experienced waking up in the morning with a list of things to do, only to come to the end of the day and realize that we’ve accomplished little, if anything?

I can count many times where I’ve thought of all the things I needed to take care of during some time off from work, or even after I’ve gotten off for the evening, only to be distracted by the television, the telephone or the pillow and mattress in my bedroom!

Success and achievement in life takes discipline. I don’t think anybody would argue that. But sometimes we need to be reminded. There are times when the path toward our desired end will seem to lend itself toward ease.

Alas, those moments, however, are usually the exception rather than the rule. Most of the time we find ourselves struggling to fight through the inner and outward opposition that seeks to thwart us from our destination — whether it be spiritual, occupational or otherwise.

The writer of this proverb admonishes us to pay close attention to two components of our lives. Our eyes and our feet.

It has been said that the eyes are the windows of the body. From the eyes, one can see through into the soul and one can see out into the world.

Many images enter into our spirits by climbing through the windows of our eyes. Solomon knew this when he wrote. And because of this, he tells us to look straight ahead. “Straight ahead,” signifies progress. And when we look straight ahead, we’re constantly allowing progress to deposit into us.

The gaze of our eyes directly affects the gait of our walk and direction of our steps. You don’t believe it? Get up and try walking straight while looking off to the left or the right. You’ll find that keeping your feet straight becomes challenging when your visual attention is diverted elsewhere.

We must keep looking forward in order to walk forward. When we fail to do this, we can find ourselves treading onto paths that are not right for us. We will “swerve to the left and to the right” with our feet when we’re not looking straight ahead with our eyes. When we begin swerving, we’re unstable and that’s when the path of the wicked can inadvertently present itself along our journey.

Make a list of the godly goals and Holy Spirit-inspired plans and instructions for your life. Place them in strategic places around your home, your office, your car, etc — places where your eyes will have to look. Let these things serve as a reminder of where God is taking you to and where He has brought you from.

When you do this, the distractions that Satan throws at you will not impact you as much, because you know your end. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Many of us are tempted to faint because we don’t know our end. Most of us will give up before we reach our life’s complete purpose because we are not acquainted with our divine end. The vision, the dream, the goal for greatness comes in the beginning. The manifestation of it meets us in the end.

But it is the times between beginning and end that test our faith, strength and endurance. It is during these uncertain and sometimes anxious “middle moments” where our character is built and we’re made ready to handle the entire fullness of God’s favor.

Stay the course! Win the race! In this Christian life, it’s not about crossing the finish line first. It’s about crossing the finish line in God’s favor.

Sometimes battered, beaten and bruised, when we stay the course, keep our focus and remember our aim, God says that our latter will be greater than our former. The past and even the present will pale in comparison to the future. Or, in the words of the Apostle Paul: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

The earthly course wasn’t promised to be easy, always joyous or even fair. But the heavenly prize is. Keep your eyes on that prize!

Gabriel Stovall covers sports for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald newspapers. He is also the founder and pastor of NewLife Christian Church which meets Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at Forest Park Middle School’s cafeteria.