Having our eyes fixed on Jesus
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
Winston Churchill once said, “Never give in! Never give in! Never! Never! Never! Never! In anything great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” As followers of Christ, we are called upon to build up stamina for life’s journey. From the text, the author of Hebrews told the readers to find encouragement in being surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses as the saints mentioned in Hebrews 11. Their triumph over hardship and persecution gives evidence of the possibilities of a life of faith. The use of the word “cloud’ in verse 1 suggests a massive host of these exemplary servants. We receive encouragement from knowing that others have faced obstacles in the Christian life and have gloriously triumphed. We are not alone facing difficulties in life and to know that others have gone through what we are dealing with in life should provide us motivation to not give up. Such encouragement should lead us to cast aside every hindrance and the sin that will hamper our progress and growth. We are to rid ourselves of any thought, attitude, or practice which impedes our progress in the Christian life. Sin finds an easy victim in all of us, so we must reject its entanglement. One of those mentioned by the author of Hebrews that persevered for he chose to pursue the life of godliness was Moses. “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). We are in for a long haul and our lives are still being perfected. We still need much more of the Master's touch. Rejecting sin’s entanglement lets us run our race with staying power. The race is that path God has marked out for us. We cannot select our own program. We must faithfully follow the route God himself has marked and to keep our eyes fixed on the goal. That calls us to focus attention on Jesus without being diverted to anything else. Our Lord’s steadfast obedience provided a perfect example of commitment for struggling believers. Jesus is the author of our faith (see also Hebrews 2:10) and He is our inspiration so we will take action that will honor and please Him. He alone is the perfecter of our faith. As we begin this New Year, let us allow Him to develop our faith so we could discover the wondrous things He has for us which we would never know or experienced if we will not accept the challenge that changes will inevitably bring to our life.
Noel De Guzman