Fix Your Eyes

If I have talked to you in person at some point in the last 6-8 months or so, you have probably heard me talk about this thing called the Peloton. If you haven’t heard of it, it is an at-home spin bike famous for commercials with absurdly wealthy/fit people taking a spin class in the comfort of their million dollar apartment. Like this.

Well, I wouldn’t peg myself as someone to be sucked in by commercials and marketing and trends, but, well… they got me. In January I started using a free trial of their app to take some classes on the spin bikes at our YMCA. Then when JoBeth and I went to New York we attended a live class in the Peloton studio where I got to feel and see how much nicer the actual Peloton bikes are. Then JoBeth and I started doing some calculating to see if we could swing it. Then we started scouring Facebook marketplace for a good deal on a used one. Finally, a few weeks ago, we found a deal that was too good to pass up, and we are now sheepishly proud owners of our very own Peloton. I’d be happy to tell you more about it sometime, but that’s not what I’m writing about today.

So the thing about Peloton is that while the bike is really nice, the value comes from the instructors. The company would call their instructors the best in the world, and they really might be. They are great. They have challenging classes, pick great music, and if you follow their instructions through a class, 20, 30, or 45 minutes later you will be panting for breath, sweaty, and exhausted. At the same time, they can be a little cheesy. They are part instructor, part motivational speaker. And don’t get me wrong, when Alex Toussaint is telling me that “this ain’t daycare” and “stop cheating yourself of greatness,” or telling me to “breathe in that confidence, exhale that doubt,” I can’t help but to pedal faster. But what I also can’t help but do is notice that when it comes down to it, most of the things they say boil down to self-help, pick yourself up by the bootstraps, try harder, be better, you need to save yourself because nobody else will type of advice.

Hearing the advice, encouragement, and motivation from secular folks in a secular organization really doesn’t bother me. I feel pretty good about my capacity to hear and be motivated by the good stuff while ignoring the nonsense. And it feels like a good opportunity to gain insight into the general worldview of modern, Western, high achieving type of people who tend to flock to the Peloton. All of that to say, amidst all of the self-help, try harder motivation, I hear something that rings true and reminds me of Christian truth. John Calvin once said “All truth is from God; and consequently, if wicked men have said anything that is true and just, we ought not to reject it; for it has come from God.” Now please don’t hear me calling these Peloton instructors wicked. Rather, what this quote reminds me of is the importance of looking for, embracing, and affirming truth where we find it. Instead of picking apart everything that people say, I want to be someone who looks for the things that are good and true and can point us to God.

In a recent class with my boy Matt Wilpers, during an especially difficult stretch of the workout, he gave some advice. He said something along the lines of – when struggling through a workout, a run, a bike ride, etc., it is so important to fix your eyes on something. If your eyes and head are constantly moving around, looking all over the place, you will be wasting energy. Instead, you should fix your eyes on something so that you know where you are going, and so that your energy can instead be focused in moving in the direction of your gaze. I was naturally reminded of Hebrews 12:1-3.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I don’t know what Matt Wilpers thinks about God. But I do know that through the gift of common grace, I could be reminded of this beautiful, encouraging, challenging truth in the middle of an early morning workout. In fact, Matt’s encouragement even caused me to think about the ways that I might waste energy and time when I do not have my eyes fixed on Jesus, and how that makes it more difficult to follow him. And more than that, I could be reminded that all truth is God’s truth, and that God chooses to use pictures from this world to illustrate and remind us of His truth.

So, let’s be people with eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. And let’s be people who affirm truth where it can be affirmed, who look for the ways that God is revealing himself in the hearts of men and women in so many different ways. And let’s participate in His work of revealing himself to the world around us.

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