When I was a much younger man (Hard to believe 20 years have come and gone so quickly!), vehicle maintenance was not on my top priority. Things like eating, paying the bills, and the like were more my speed (and if I’m honest, I paid more for entertainment than I should have). Yet it was neglecting this task of maintaining my vehicle that often led me to trouble: brakes are important, tires are important, and wheel alignment is important. I remember driving some vehicles where keeping the car moving straight on the road was a chore in and of itself! And it is this idea that got me thinking: Jesus tells us that the road to heaven is straight and narrow, and few find it. It’s for those who have a laser focus on Christ, or, as the author of Hebrews puts it, those who “fix their eyes” on Him (Hebrews 12:2). If our priorities are not on what is important, our alignment will turn us further and further from this straight and narrow road.
Loved ones, there’s things in life we work for that are of absolutely no value, but we pour our time, treasures and talents in to them anyway. We say things like “When I’m in a better place financially, or when the kids are in/out of school, or when I retire, or <fill in the blank), I’ll go all in for Jesus.” We end up spending it all on things that have no bearing on eternity, wonder why our kids don’t believe any more, wonder where the time has gone, and a number of other regrets. Now is the time to get your alignment readjusted, and it is a long hard road that we must travel, but it is worth it. Our families don’t need new experiences, our houses don’t need the latest appliances (though we should maintain them), we don’t need the latest and greatest vehicles (though we should care for what the Lord has given us), and we certainly don’t need all the toys, gadgets, and other things to keep us occupied. We need to occupy our minds with Christ and the things of Christ. It is only then when everything is in focus, when we’re zeroed in on Jesus and the work of the Gospel. Adjust your alignment, fix your eyes on Jesus, and watch Him put your life on the path you need to be on!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.