based on the LGG Study, Enduring Hope / w5d3
Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-3 / SOAP: 1-3
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. 2 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. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.Hebrews 12:1-3
Observations and applications
There are many lessons packed into these three small verses, like how Jesus is the pioneer of our faith, meaning He led the way or set the example for the life of faith He has called us to live. Perhaps the most beautiful lesson is the way the author wrote about what and how Jesus “endured”, namely the cross, “disregarding its shame”. This only sinless son of God took our sin and shame and we should , as Bibleref.com writes – “make every effort to ‘hold fast’ (Hebrews 3:6; 10:23), setting aside sin and selfishness as we pursue whatever path God has placed in front of us. This is the essence of godly faith: to trust God with our future, despite how hard it might be in the present.”
Jesus is the ultimate example of what it means to endure.
To run the race God has mapped out for us – we must get rid of things that hinder us – such as sin and things of earth that bind us or weigh us down. We must also keep our eyes on Jesus, the champion of our faith. Why? Because it is just too easy to give into fears and weariness when our eyes are not on Him. Remember, our battles are different than the typical earthly warfares. In Ephesians, chapter six, Paul explained that our battles are not against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world. Since we cannot see our enemy we must prepare our minds for the battle. This, at least in part, is why Scripture teaches, or warns us, to guard the mind and to keep our thoughts on Him. Actually, Paul shared his personal battle of the mind with the church at Rome. He told them that there was another power within him that was at war with his mind. The power made him a slave to the sin that was still in him and he wanted to help others who might also struggle with this. Because of this, it seems, Paul used letter after letter to drill the warning into New Testament believers and not just the warning but the ways to overcome the battle, whether it was of the mind or present and real earthly matters.
Because I have found them very helpful to my own battles many of the “how tos’ are referenced here with the hope that they will also help you.
- Romans 12;2 … To avoid copying the customs and behaviors of this world we must let God change the way we think.
- Colossians 3:2 … Think about the things of heaven not the things of earth
- Philippians 2:5 … Think like Christ – You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had…
- Philippians 4:8 … Think on these things …
- 1 Peter 1:13 … Prepare your mind for action
- 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 … Take every thought captive.
Jesus Himself made it known the importance of the mind in relation to His followers.According to Jesus’ teaching, both the focus and the allegiance of the mind were important to God.
But [Jesus} turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.” Matthew 16:23
We even hear its importance in His infamous answer to the Pharisee in Matthew 22:37, where He replied – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all of your mind.'”
Long before Jesus walked on the earth Isaiah told the people, “[God] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him, all whose thoughts are fixed on Him.”
The Bible is full of helpful tips, promises, and more when it comes to overcoming the enemy – which is key to our endurance – and why Scripture is the believer’s greatest weapon of warfare. Consider Paul’s words to the believers in Ephesus and, by extension, to believers today concerning the armor of God.
Finally, be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace, 16 and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). 18 With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and petitions for all the saints.Ephesians 6:10-18
If we want to endure, and not just endure, but endure with hope we must be prepared to stand firm. However we cannot stand firm without the Word of God, which is specifically referred to by Paul as the Sword of the spirit. While the other pieces of armor may not specifically be referred to by Paul as the “Word of God”, almost all have some connection to the Word. Check out today’s, ‘Going Deeper’ for more details.