This Day in History: 0000-01-12

January 12 – Hebrews 12:1-4

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.  And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility He endured for sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

We spent the last two days in Hebrews 11 learning about faith from the examples of some of the great heroes of the Bible.  We learned that without faith, it is impossible to please God.  We learned that faith is believing that He will keep His promises even when we can’t see what lies ahead. We learned that faith produces obedience to God, relationship with God, and reward from God.  We learned that sometimes that reward looks like a triumphant victory over our troubles and sometimes it looks like the quiet endurance to get us through those troubles. We learned that the ultimate fulfillment of His promises won’t happen this side of eternity, because this world is not our home, and that we should never allow the troubles of the temporal to rob us of eternal blessings.

All those lessons are wonderful, and important, but what’s great about Hebrews 12 is that it makes the grand concepts of Hebrews 11 very very practical.  It says, more or less, I know that all sounds great, now here’s how we actually DO that:
– We have to get rid of anything that’s slowing us down, or getting in the way.  Especially that sin that seems to always come back and cause us to stumble again and again.  Let’s spend some time right now taking an honest look at our lives. What sin is there in your life that keeps you defeated?  Confess it. Renounce it out loud. If you need to do something to make it right, do it. Then hand it over to God, leave it at the foot of the cross and ask Him to help you. Turn around and walk away from it.
-Next, we have to start looking at our situations like a marathon and run that race to win.  A marathon is not won in the first ten minutes! It requires planning, pacing, endurance.  Let’s recognize that we were placed in this race on purpose.  God set it before us, and if He put us here, He will give us what we need not just to finish it but to cross that finish line victorious!
-Finally, we have to keep our eyes on Jesus!  That’s the real key.  He is the One who created us.  He is the One who called us to faith. He is the only one who can perfect that faith. It is only through Him that we have any hope at all.  He is the Champion, the One who already won this race, and the One who is training us to win our race!  Let’s look to His example, recognizing that His victory required great humility, great sacrifice, and very great pain.  When we begin to feel weary and the finish line seems out of reach, let’s remember where it is that He sits right now – on His glorious throne at the right hand of the Father!

Is there still air in your lungs?  Does your heart still beat?  Then your race isn’t over yet.  Let’s renew our faith today and set our eyes on Christ.  Let’s run with endurance the race the Father has set before us knowing with certainty that one day we will receive the reward He has prepared us!