by: Tim Olson
A Call to Endurance
Hope is such an interesting word. Hope can sometimes be lost in the circumstances of life. The image of laying in a hospital bead dying from a disease that cannot be cured, a failed marriage that cannot be revived, a relationship that isnt recipricating in interest, children who live lives of disobedience and walk away from what you have taught them, maybe even suffering the consequences of our choices. Hope can seem to fade. Hope of a cure, a revived relationship, hope for our country that is clearly split open with racial, economic and moral despair. There is alot in the world that may seem hopeless; however for the christian Hope is the anchor for our soul. The theme of Hebrews 12 is a message of hope, not a vague hope in some ancient writings or wishful thinking, but a true living hope. The hope only Jesus Christ can provide.
Hope gives us endurance. Hebrews 12:1-3 sets a picture of a race. The letter of Hebrews was written to encourage endurance. We are reminded in these verses of the witnesses all around us, including other believers that are watching us line up ready for the race. We bear witness to our faith in our daily lives, yes we all witness and build one another up daily with our daily race. The encouragment we give and recieve from one another helps us endure the race, this isn't a 50-yard dash, life is a marathon race. So sometimes the race isnt about speed, itcan often be more about endurance and progress. The letter tells us to throw off every weight and sin hindering us from the race. In life we carry weight, responsibilities like work, family, community needs, school, and other daily needs. This clearly is not saying to throw all those things to the side, but to use them to excersize your faith. An athlete cannot progress without training, God gives us plenty of opportunities to "workout" our faith each day, and as a result of our training with weight we have incredible endurance. Shedding sin is vital to endurance though, if we live within a life of sin, it would be like strapping weights to your legs while running the race, you will lag and it will cause an uneccesary burden on your race performance. Let me encourage you this today to shed sin by confession and repentance. Unless of course you like being burdenned with a life of misery and seperation from God.
When atheletes prepare for a race they plan or have a strategy, they pick a lane, check the track for debris, prepare themselves mentally with their favorite music to encourage them.
Our strategy is spelled out in verse 2; looking to Jesus. Let Jesus be our focus, let Jesus be our strategy in life. Focus on him alone, and soon you will find the burdens that held you back from running a good race removed. In the first century runners would approach the race wearing fancy brightly colored robes, and when they began to line up for the race they would shed their robes and run nearly naked to ensure they were not carrying any additional weight while running the race. We need to be practicing a life focused on Jesus, fill your mind with thoughts of him seated at the right hand of God, fill your thoughts with him being the author and finisher of your life, fill your thoughts with Jesus.
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Do Not Grow Weary
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
2 Comments on this post:
Amen. We go through trials that can make us feel overwhelmed and depressed , but we are ultimately a hopeful people. And it is not hope in hope. It is hope in a Person: Jesus, our Savior, King, and Treasure. Good word, brother.
Thank you Pastor Tim,
I needed these words of encouragement today. My eyes are back...where they belong...on Jesus. Our Hope...♡