Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…
Sometimes we can struggle with our faith … wondering if God is listening or even cares about our situations and circumstances. We face difficulties and challenges with illnesses, finances, relationships, etc. How do we keep things in perspective and trust God to be with us during these times?
Our verse today reminds us that we are surrounded by a great number of witnesses. Hebrews 11 is filled with the stories of people who persevered in faith despite the hardships and sufferings that they faced in life. And so, we can be encouraged by their examples. “All these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise. God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” (Cf. Hebrews 11:39-40) The promise is received in Jesus Christ. The promise is eternal life with Him….
The inspired writer urges us to put aside anything that hinders us … and the sin which so easily ensnares us. What could that be? Well, it could be strongholds of sin, attachments of darkness, etc. But I think the sin of “unbelief” is what so easily ensnares us in our journey of faith. We simply begin to doubt or fail to trust God at His Word. Our adversary, Satan, is a liar and a deceiver. And if he can lure you into questioning the truth of the Word of God, he will do whatever it takes to make you question God, His love, and His promises….
So we are admonished to stay the course … to persevere and finish the race of faith. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. (Cf. Hebrews 10:36)
As the Apostle James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” And, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (Cf. James 1:3-4; 12)
And remember, we should always be looking to Jesus … fixing our eyes upon Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. (Cf. Hebrews 12:2) For we know and are confident that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Cf. Philippians 1:6)