Not losing heart and pressing on
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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
After enumerating the examples of believers in the past who maintained confidence in God in spite of persecution and affliction, the author of Hebrews again admonished his readers to persevere in the conflict of their faith. He used the image of the athletic arena as he called on them to run their course with patience. The author’s purpose in mentioning the “cloud of witnesses,” may simply have been to encourage his readers by the example of those who had gone before them. A Christian should be encouraged by looking to the victorious examples of the witnesses from the past. The spiritual runner is to disregard any hindrance, care, possession, and side interest that would impede him in his course. Above all, Christians must guard against sin, which clings and ensnares and will inevitably cause them to stumble in their running if it is not removed. The key to victory for the Christian runner is to fix his eyes on Jesus, the pioneer of our faith as well as its completer and chief encouragement. In one sense, all faith in God has had its beginning in, and has been directed toward, Jesus Christ, who existed prior to all history. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God” (John 1:1). Then in v. 14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son.” In the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, faith found its most complete expression and realization. He has, indeed, run the perfect race before us. Ignoring the disgrace and suffering of the cross, and looking to the true and ultimate reward, He patiently endured crucifixion. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:3). Christ will perfect the faith of His followers who place their confidence in Him. He is the beginning and end of their faith. Christians are admonished to consider their experience in the light of His example and be encouraged by His victory. He will surely complete any good works begun in the lives of His children. How can one who looks to Jesus be weary and disheartened? The Christian life and ministry can grow wearisome and hard at times, but with Christ Himself as our example, the Lord our Savior, urges us not to faint, but always to press on.
Noel De Guzman