Without God we are weak. In our weakness, God steps in and gives us strength. Do you have faith enough to believe that? We have read a summary of the accounts of how the heroes of faith stepped out, trusted, obeyed, and received the promises of God. Have these examples empowered you to be more faithful? Are you ready to be bolder in your faith?
You have received the fulfillment of the promise they never saw experienced. These heroes of faith had long awaited something spectacular from God. God had promised something better. The promise of a Messiah. Jesus had not yet come when they left this earth, so their true promise had not yet been revealed to them. How much more privileged are we to know how God’s promise of a Savior came about for us all.
While they waited in anticipation, these heroes of faith took a beating for their faith yet persevered. Would you stand up for Jesus and your belief he is the truth, the way, and the life if you were cornered, back against the wall, with a weapon in your face? I know that is a brutal image to imagine, but it happens around the world still today. Especially today. Yet, we don’t always hear about those events. Persecution is alive and well, sad to say. The descriptions in today’s reading are not unheard of even today.
While I hope I never have to be put in that position, I believe my faith is strong enough to endure and hold on. I place my “hope in a better life after the resurrection.” I know God has something better in mind for us, and I want to be faithful to the end so it will be revealed to me. If I am tested, I want to be bold and brave.
It helps to know we aren’t alone. We are never alone. I love the first few verses of Chapter 12. Picture this, “we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” All we need to do is go back and read Chapter 11 and remember all the faithful examples we have who have gone before us. In addition, we have people in our own life (friends, family, church community) who are setting real-time examples of encouragement for us. Faithful ones.
A heritage of faith has been handed down to us. Now it is our turn to be seen as faithful. Steve Green’s song “Find Us Faithful” is a great example of this. LISTEN HERE.
May the fire of our devotion indeed light the way for those to follow us! We need to be on fire for God and let his Spirit dwell within us. “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” There are so many distractions around us to confuse us and get us off track. While God has given us a life to live and enjoy, he also wants us to put him first. How his heart must break when his children go off on their merry way with no more thought of him.
Those people are empty inside whether they accept it or not. God wants to fill our emptiness. He wants to fill us with his joy. This is the same joy that helped Jesus endure the cross. It’s the joy of knowing what lies ahead for us when we are reunited with God. What joy shall fill our hearts. No matter how empty we feel, how sad or frustrated with life we may be, the joy that comes from knowing God and our final destination with him should give us all the fuel we need to boldly persevere and live a life of faithfulness.
Let’s pray. Lord, I pray that others will see you in me as I live my life in faithful obedience. Fill me with your spirit to touch others as they need. Help me to stay on track and not get lost or misguided by the distractions of life. Give me the discernment to see evil for evil and to push it away. For those who don’t know you or who aren’t experiencing the joy of your salvation, help me to see them. Use me to rescue them. May I be an example of faith for someone today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.