“…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, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a)
The 12th chapter of Hebrews is a very fertile portion of scripture. It begins with a race of faith looking back with encouragement at the overcoming saints just mentioned in chapter 11, and then forward as we follow after a victorious Christ. We can expect constructive and conforming discipline from God because He loves us as children. He then reminds us to keep standing up and looking up. Good stuff.
But it is the last four words in the scripture above that has often been my thread of hope. I happen to be one of them there fallen human beings. I am frustratingly self-willed and easily flattened like a pancake under the weight of my will be done. I run away from the tentacles of sin just fast enough to make sure I get caught. And then there I sit on the sideline, way-laid again from His call, His purposes, and His plans for my life. How will I ever overcome? How will I ever finish? Yes, by the Finisher of our faith, I can make it. You can make it. Because He can finish in us what He started.
Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, reminds us again where we need to place ourselves in order to keep from being sidelined. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Vs.20-21) You see that – wrap yourself up in our Triune God. And in response we have this sure promise: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever more. Amen. ” (vs. 24-25)
Like me, do you sometimes find yourself pancaked and sidelined and desperately grasping for a thread of hope? Get back up; get back in, while looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.