By Jan McMorris
There are many labels each of us wears throughout life. Some of the labels which could describe me include: wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, American, Community Bible Study leader, nurse, and Christian. All of these describe a part of what contributes to the person I am.
However, my desire is that descriptions such as “Christ follower” or “loves the Lord” would encompass every aspect of my life; would be the overarching description to which all other labels are anchored.
One Scripture verse which has always been significant to me is Hebrews 12:2,
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This verse includes the significant aspects of my faith and my faith journey, and brings to mind several important images. First, the phrase “fix our eyes on Jesus,” implies a determined action. This reminds me of being focused on Jesus above all else.
In art and photography, the focal point is an important concept. Focal point is defined as “the point at which all elements or aspects converge; the center of activity.” So, in a painting, for example, the eyes are naturally drawn to the focal point of the picture, the point at which the significant aspects of the painting come together.
Likewise, this reminds me that Jesus is the focal point of my life. As my eyes are fixed on Him, He becomes the “point at which all elements or aspects” of my life converge. He is what gives my life meaning, purpose. Most importantly, He provides forgiveness of sins and the way to be reconciled to God because of His death on the cross.
The second word in this verse which is important is author. An author is defined as, “the one who originated or gave existence to something.” As the “author of our faith” Jesus gives existence to the story of salvation. As such, He is the one who writes my story of salvation.
God is the creator and originator of the means by which I can receive salvation and be forgiven for my sins; Jesus is the one who brought this into existence or made it possible by dying on the cross for my sins.
Another aspect of being an author is having the “responsibility for what was created.” This reminds me of the third significant image in this verse: perfector of our faith.
Jesus is the one who perfects my faith, who shapes and changes me throughout my life, as I journey with Him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, I will continue to become more and more like Christ, and into the person God desires me to be.
The rest of this verse reminds me of the basic tenets of my faith: that Jesus endured the cross as a sacrifice for my sins and the sins of the world. He rose again and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Therefore, Jesus made it possible for me to be forgiven for my sins and have a right relationship with God the Father.
The image which reminds me of this verse is the picture of a path in the woods which then forks into two paths. One path is in shadows while the other path is illuminated by sunlight. The lighted path also has the glare of the sun above it.
In looking at this picture, the eye is naturally drawn to the lighted path and the sunshine above it. This is the focal point of this picture, and seems to be encouraging one to follow the lighted path.
The focal point of the illuminated path reminds me that my eyes need to be always fixed on Jesus as I live out my faith journey. Although I have no active role in my salvation, I do have a responsibility to continue following Christ every day of my life.
That means I constantly need to choose the path of following Christ, rather than the path which follows the world.
Based on this verse and image, I am reminded to choose each day who I will follow: Christ or the world. I can be confident that my sins are forgiven and that Christ will continue to perfect my faith until I meet Him face to face.
It also encourages me to be thankful for what Christ has done on my behalf, and to have joy in my walk with Christ. This verse reminds me that the description of my life which is most important is not wife, mother, sister, etc. The most important characterization is follower of Christ.
This paper was written by a parent in our confirmation program. Parents are the single most important people in the faith development of our youth. Because we want to support and encourage faith development in the home, the confirmation program at St. Luke Lutheran Church involves parents as well as mentors and students. You can read more Parent Faith Papers or Student Faith Papers.