Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Enduring Forward

“Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:1-4 CSB)

Say the word “endure,” and all sorts of images come up in people’s minds. Most probably have the idea of enduring pain or some ordeal until it passes. For many endurance is static, in other words, but endurance as spoken of in Hebrews primarily means enduring forward. We endure as we are moving forward and in order to move forward. Our interest is more in thriving than surviving. That is the call of the Spirit.

The writer of Hebrews shows us three pathways that can help us endure forward. The first one is the “crowd factor” pathway. In athletic events, the crowd can influence their team toward optimal performance, and we have a great crowd supporting us, called a “cloud of witnesses.” Hebrews 11 mentions even some of the names of those who are supporting us and cheering us on toward an endurance that takes us forward.

The second pathway is the “double-tracked” pathway. Imagine this as a railway – two parallel ribbons of steel. One rail calls for us to “lay aside the sin that so easily entangles us.” The other rail calls for us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” These two rails, traveled upon simultaneously, will help us to get to the destination of “enduring forward.”

The third pathway is the “north star” pathway. This is the one where we “keep our eyes on Jesus.” Like the north star, Jesus is constant. He is our Guide. He is described here first as the Source of our faith. It all derives from Him. Then He is described as the Perfecter of our faith, or the One who makes it complete.

We are called not only to endure but to endure forward.

Lord, Help us today to endure forward in ways that bring glory and honor to You. Amen.

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