May 4th, 2007
One of the difficult facts of life is that if you want to learn something or improve in some way, there is normally pain and inconvenience in the process. I often wish that learning to be a follower of Jesus was just like learning a computer programming language. You read the book, type the examples into your computer, and after only 24 hours of tutorials you are starting to become proficient in the programming language. The only pain is in setting aside the time — as well as identifying the problems caused by typos in the book. Unfortunately, following Jesus is more than just reading the Bible and following the examples…
The Letter to the Hebrews — Chapter 12
12:1 We are surrounded by so large a cloud of witnesses, so we should get rid of all obstacles and the sin which so easily trips us up, and we should resolutely run the race that is ahead of us, 12:2 looking to Jesus, the originator and finisher of our faith, who endured the cross, disregarding its shame because of the joy that was ahead of him. He has now sat down at the right hand side of the throne of God. 12:3 Think about how he endured such hostility of sinners against himself, so that you do not get tired and faint-hearted. 12:4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your struggle against sin; 12:5 and you have forgotten the encouraging words that talk about you as children of God, “My child, do not think lightly of the Lord’s training, or get discouraged when he corrects you, 12:6 because the Lord trains people that he loves, and disciplines everyone that he accepts as his child.”
12:7 Enduring hardships is a type of training. God is treating you as his children; what child is there that is not trained by a parent? 12:8 If you do not go through the training which everyone gets to take part in, then are you not legitimate children. 12:9 Furthermore, we have all had human parents to train us, and we respected them for it. Should we not more willingly submit to our spiritual Father, and really live? 12:10 For a brief period our parents trained us as seemed appropriate to them, but God trains us for our benefit, so that we can have a part in his holiness. 12:11 At the time, training seems to bring misery rather than happiness, but afterwards it produces the results of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained. 12:12 So reinvigorate your tired hands and weakened knees, 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that lameness is healed, rather than made worse.
12:14 Seek peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no-one will see the Lord. 12:15 Make sure that no-one falls short of the grace of God, and do not let anyone’s bitterness cause trouble and contaminate a lot of people. 12:16 Take care that no-one is sexually immoral, or disrespectful like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal. 12:17 As you know, when he later wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected and was unable to change things even though he sought it with tears. 12:18 You have not come to a place that can be touched and set ablaze, and to darkness, gloom, a windstorm, 12:19 the sound of a trumpet, and a voice speaking. The people who heard it begged that not one more word should be spoken to them, 12:20 because they could not bear its command, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 12:21 The sight was so frightening that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
12:22 Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to thousands of angels, 12:23 to a festival and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect, 12:24 to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than the blood of Abel.
12:25 See that you do not refuse the one who speaks. If the people who rejected the warnings given on earth did not escape, how can we possibly escape if we reject the warnings from heaven? 12:26 God’s voice shook the earth then, but now he has promised, “I will once again shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.” 12:27 The words “once again” indicate that the things which are shaken, created things, will be removed, so that eternal things which are not shaken can remain. 12:28 We are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, and in our gratitude we offer acceptable worship to God with reverence and awe, 12:29 because our God is a consuming fire.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance