Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
Let’s face it, our lives have not been easy for quite some time now. The normal we lived is no longer here. It was shattered when the pandemic hit. Many have suffered the unimaginable loss of loved ones, so many are ill or still struggling with lingering side effects. Stores have closed, people refuse to work even though jobs are out there. The government seems shady at best, the news tells partial truths, and so on. It is hard to know where to turn or what to do, but I know! GO TO GOD’S WORD! None of this is a surprise to Him. He is Sovereign and in control of all the events unfolding on this earth. You ask yourself WHY is God allowing such things. TO WAKE HIS CHURCH UP FROM THEIR COMPLACENCY is one reason, and probably the biggest. Also, to separate the sheep from the goats.
All throughout the bible, we see where God used plagues, natural elements, the threat of wars, etc. My Pastor touched on this in his sermon, it is from Isaiah 8:12-13 does this sound familiar with all that is going on right now? “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. 13 Make the LORD of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble.” Those are powerful words. Why are God’s people so wrapped up in the foolishness of what is going on? We are to FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS. We are to look different than the world. We are to persevere with our hearts and mind in peace, knowing that God has us.
When we read our Bibles and pray, we will have peace. We will see and understand that our God has not forsaken us and He is working all things out for our good and His glory. See, we need to be Heaven-ready. We are to live righteously in the fear and reverence of our God. We are not to get caught up and swept away by the foolishness of the world around us. Sinners have no hope, except in the government and authorities of this earth. And they have no future with God, theirs will be eternal darkness.
We are still in the age of grace, the word is still going out in pulpits, everyone has the opportunity to know and receive forgiveness and salvation. But you know what, people don’t want it and their hearts are growing darker by the minute.
Here is what the dictionary says about perseverance, “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”
We have not yet received the reward that is waiting on us. We must still navigate the crazy of this life and keep our eyes and hearts fixed on Jesus, marching on, knowing that one day will either die and be with him immediately or we will be raptured when he comes. When you see the word Therefore in the Bible, you need to know what is there for. Therefore means “for this reason.” What reason? In Hebrews 12:1-3 we are instantly told the why. “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” Who are the witnesses? It is referring to the saints who have gone on before us, and the faithful ones who endured looking for the Messiah, like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We already know the Messiah was and is Jesus, and He also had to endure the cross and the shame. Many that followed Him died terrible deaths, but they had seen the resurrected Christ, and nothing would shake them or turn them away.
Many generations throughout history have had difficult times. None have just glided by, but the faithful stayed true to their faith. Their hope was firm. They understood that God was orchestrating all things, and He was faithful and would be with them with every step they took. Saints in Heaven are not looking down rooting us on, but it is a figurative representation of them. We should get our inspiration to persevere from all those who have gone before us, especially Jesus Christ.
We are to encourage one another as we press on towards the mark. The race we are running has an amazing “prize” at the end. Eternal life with the One who saved us. No more tears, no more pain, no more anything bad. Wow!! This should bring you peace, this should be the reason you keep going forward, eyes and heart fixed on Jesus. Life is hard, and it may get much harder. There may come a time when the gospel cannot go out. Now is the time of salvation, now is the time to be rooted and grounded in God’s word. Now is the time to lay fear aside, and be the salt and light in this world we have been told to be.
Keep pressing on. Keep looking up, who knows it could be today that our Lord returns for His people. What will he find you doing?
Blessings to each of you…may we who are the sons and daughters of the Most-High God have holy fear, be humble, be kind, be loving, be helpful, and be powerful witnesses, and the ones with the most hope, as we wait. We should look and act like Jesus, we should walk and talk like Jesus. We should not look like this world, if you do, check your heart!