“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, 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.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
As we conclude our reading in the Book of Hebrews we are reminded of some of the greatest themes in scripture.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
I love reading the stories in the Old Testament, stories of the faithful, mentioned in Chapter 11.
We can look back to these witnesses and learn about their journey and apply the wisdom of their choices, both good and bad to own lives.
We can learn about the consequence of sin without experiencing it ourselves.
We can see how their faith carried them through in dire circumstances to include martyrdom.
We can learn from those who have gone before us – but…
We are ever mindful that we are running the race forward – looking to Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith.”
It is in Jesus we find our hope.
A faith-based hope, centered around our love for Jesus.
The purpose of faith is to bring us to a saving knowledge of Jesus, to draw us closer to Him, and to serve Him along our journey.
We are told to run the race well and not to get weary – for we have hope, hope in Jesus and in a “kingdom that cannot be shaken”.
As Christians, “we seek the city that is to come.”
We do this all out of love, offering worship with reverence and awe, through sacrifices pleasing to God – brotherly love and hospitality to others.
A faith driven by love.
I am reminded of the following story – something I read years ago.
An American missionary in Africa wanted to translate the English word faith into the local dialect.
He could not find its equivalent. So he went to an old sage, who was himself a fine Christian, for help in rendering the needed word into understandable language.
The old man studied it, and finally said, “Does it not mean to hear with the heart?”
Hearing with our hearts.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
When the heart hears, we live a love-filled life, driven by faith, grounded in the hope we have with Jesus the Perfecter of our faith.
Until next time – keep reading!
Sources used for this blog – 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching, by G.C. Jones