1 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, 2 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
Last week, we prayed together for Hebrews like endurance as we take the road that is set before us. This week, we look at how we are to run. We are to run “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” It’s so simple, yet so difficult… our eyes wander so easily. Our focus is so quickly taken off of the ONE who is worthy of us running after. The road in front of us may be a treacherous one, where will your eyes be set? On the road filled with roadblocks, snares, and landmines? If that is where our eyes fall and stay, we may never even take the first step forward. But, when our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the founder and perfecter, the hazards fade into the background and our eternal purpose is found, despite what temporary hardship could lie ahead.
Jesus knows that it is hard. The scripture is clear that His road was not easy. His road included the painful and humiliating cross. His road included being despised by the public opinion, rejected. Where was He looking?
Ahead – To the joy that was set before Him. His eyes were firmly fixed on the joy of God’s redemptive plan unfolding. His eyes were on eternity.
Where are our eyes set?
31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
- Pray that we do not doubt or question the will and purpose of God as Peter did. Once again, notice Jesus’ response – “you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Pray that God aligns our vision with His.
- Pray that we run with endurance, despising the shame. Pray that worldly opinion does not trump God’s purpose for our lives. The truth is that God may call some of us to do what may seem unthinkable to the public at large. Perhaps it may seem unthinkable to our families. Pray that we have the faith to follow and not cower under the public opinion.
- Pray that we deny ourselves, that we take up our cross and follow. Pray that our “yes” be on the table, before we even know the question, trusting that set in the middle of God’s purpose is the best place to be.
- Pray that some from LifePoint would be called out to GO for the sake of the Kingdom and that we would respond obediently – looking to Jesus. The harvest is plentiful, the workers few.