Have you ever looked someone in the eyes? During this time of wearing a mask that is all we see. But you can tell a lot about a person by looking them in the eye. You can also learn a lot by watching someone’s eyes. The eye is the window to the soul. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Many questions come to mind. What were you looking at? Where are our eyes focused? Were you watching the same thing I was? We have heard about a wandering eye. What do we tell others by where our eyes are focused? Our eyes reveal much more than we think.

Matthew 6:22-23; “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

One of the things that I like about going to the track is catching up with old friends. I remember an encounter a few years back at the credential signin trailer we bumped into Paul Andrews and his wife, later I ran into their son Tim. That family has always been an encouragement to me, more than they know. Maybe it is because when you talk with Paul he is focused on you; he looks you in the eye and greets you with that wide smile of his. One of the most special memories I have in racing is about Paul and Tim. Paul and Tim are racers. Paul earned his honor as Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 Winston Cup Champion crew chief. Tim, when he isn’t racing, is working in someone’s shop.

This falls into the category that the best things in racing don’t always happen on the track. The place was Stafford Motor Speedway. It was a night race for the Old Busch North Series. It was Tim’s first visit to the track and in the first practice session he backed it into the wall. As I went to check on the team there was Paul on his back pounding out the rear quarter. It wasn’t Paul’s job to fix it but that didn’t stop him. Tim made the race.

Before the race the cars were staged along the back stretch fence. As the local racers contended on the track there sat a father and son talking about the thing they shared, a love for racing. Tim leaned against the front bumper with his arm on his bent knee tired from a long day. Paul squatted facing him with a smile that shone bright as the track lighting filtering through the backstretch billboards. They reviewed the events of the day and took pride in the effort they put forth. It didn’t matter where they finished that night the day was a success, a father and son working side by side and sharing more than most, a job well done.

What do we see when we look into someone’s eyes? What do we see when we take a step back and look? Are we seeing what is really there or are we filtering it and seeing only what we want to see?

Our eyes can lead us to trust someone or they can lead us to temptation. What we choose to focus on goes a long way toward the decisions we make. We have all been there, trying to resist the temptation of doing something that we know we shouldn’t. When faced with a tempting proposition who do we blame, God or ourselves? How do we handle it? How do we reason with ourselves so that we make the right decision?

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. You might have heard that. On the road and away from home we are sometimes tempted to do something different than we would normally do. There are many things on the road that tempt us. How we respond to that stimulus determines who we really trust. Do we trust ourselves?

Take a look at temptation another way. In racing we have rules. We are tempted to twist or break those rules to gain a competitive advantage. Some of the rules are vague and we are tempted to twist them in our favor. Sometimes the rules are very clear and we decide to ignore them. There are some of us who will do whatever it takes to win. We rationalize it by saying everything is fair game if you don’t get caught.

When we give in to temptation it undermines our integrity and leads others to distrust us. When you lose the trust of someone it is very difficult to regain it again. When we give into the temptation to please ourselves, we lose more than we ever thought possible. We lose our relationships with others and it will separate us from God.

In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to help us avoid temptation and lead us away from evil. I think part of the problem is that we don’t see it as that evil. We rationalize our decisions based on the actions of others and not on the instruction of God. We feel if everyone is doing it so why not us. That is the wrong conclusion. We need to set ourselves apart from the behavior of others so that we show there is a different way to live. Listen to the way James shows us the connection between temptation and sin.

James 1:13-15,  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Temptation is the beginning of a cycle that ends in death. We think we can handle it but before we realize it we are trapped in sin. If we don’t deal with our sin we will be eternally separated from God. James helps us to understand that it is not God’s choice but ours. We choose to let ourselves be tempted. We choose to act on that temptation. Because that temptation has its root in evil it only leads us away from God.

There are many things in life that are tempting. We all have our weaknesses. We all have those parts of us that are prone to be weak. It is important to know our own weaknesses and take steps to avoid those situations. It is beneficial to have a relationship with someone who can hold us accountable; someone who cares for us enough to keep us from making choices that will only lead us away from God.

At its core, temptation is our selfish nature trying to override the Spirit of God in our heart. We know what we want. We know it is not the best. We know that we shouldn’t. But we do it anyway.

We need to keep our eyes from things that will open our heart to temptation. We need to overcome temptation and the destruction it brings into our lives. We need to know what choice will honor God. We need to make that choice.  I encourage you to find someone to hold you accountable for the decisions you make. Build a relationship with them and together make every effort to honor God in all you do.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.