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
Run the race that is set before us…
When the road seems long and treacherous in front of us, perhaps seemingly without end… do we strive ahead with Hebrews like endurance or do we retreat to the safety and comfort of the known and safe? When we sense that God is calling us into a place unknown, do we joyfully lay down our earthly treasures in exchange for eternal treasures or do we circumvent God’s purpose for our life in exchange for the immediate gratification of temporal things that will not last?
For the next two weeks we will pray through this passage together. Let us be steadfast in prayer – for God to transform us into the church He wants us to be. Pray that He would use us to accomplish His great purpose. Pray that He would call out and send laborers from LifePoint into His harvest. As we head forward into 2016 and all that God has set before us… let us keep running.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
- The word for ‘witnesses’ in the original Greek text is the word ‘martus’ where we get our word for martyr. The author, in their encouragement, immediately draws attention to the great sacrifice of so many that have given their everything for the cause and sake of Christ.
- Pray that our faith in Christ and our passion for the heart of God would grow so great that we would count all that we have as loss for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
- Pray that we would be encouraged by stories of those that have given their all for their faith.
- Pray that God would replace our fleshly fear with relentless faith as we hear stories of our brothers and sisters that have been persecuted, imprisoned, oppressed, and even killed for their refusal to renounce their faith in Jesus. Pray that we would be emboldened by their faith. “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” – Philippians 1:14
let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely
- Pray that we yield to the Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives. Pray that we do not grieve His conviction in our hearts but submit ourselves to His leading – even when it is painful or difficult.
- Pray that God would teach us to fight with the truth of His Word. Pray that God would increase our desire to abide in His Word, allowing Scripture to renew our minds, and transform our hearts. “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'” – John 8:31
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us
- If walking in the purpose of God would be easy for the church than this encouragement would not be necessary. Our time on this earth is described as a race. We are His ambassadors, entrusted with His message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20). The message that we have been entrusted with is one that saves and offends – it will be opposed. The Scripture is clear, we WILL need endurance. Pray that God teaches us to be steadfast, unwavering in our faith – and when it becomes difficult, that we would keep running.
- Pray that we would GO into the Harvest with hearts prepared to run with endurance. Pray that God would equip and prepare those that He will call and that LifePoint will send. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9