PASTOR'S PEN: Celebrating too soon

Proverbs 4 has a lot of great advice. Here’s a little:

“My son, give attention to my words, incline your heart to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart for they are life to those who find them and health to all their body … Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you … Do not turn to the right nor to the left. Turn your foot from evil.”

Proverbs makes it clear we need to avoid evil at every cost and stay on the path of what is right and God-honoring. That can be a difficult task, but well worth it. You may have already heard on the news or saw the video online of Tanguy Pepiot, the runner from Oregon. He was near the finish line when he decided that he wanted the crowd to cheer him on to the end. He begins raising his arm in celebration and slows down his pace. At that moment, in a complete surprise to Pepiot, Meron Simon from Washington comes from behind to take the win. That slight distraction kept Pepiot from a win and put his name in the public in an unflattering light.

I’m thinking that Pepiot will never make that mistake again. I’m certain that the next time he runs he will “let his gaze be fixed straight in front of him” until he crosses that finish line. God desires for us to do the same. We aren’t to turn to the crowd and raise our arms for praise — God the Father will give that when we cross the line. We aren’t to distract our practice of what is God-honoring by dabbling in sin. We must keep our focus on the end game.

“… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)