When we hear or read of men of faith, there is always that element where each acted on the basis of his faith. They did something, obeying God, having taken risks.
They were prepared to look foolish, or be regarded as peculiar, and then there came that day when their names appeared in an honours list in the book of Hebrews.
They had pleased God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Check that out in Hebrews Chapter 11 and at verse 6.
Men and women of faith are encouraged to run the race marked out for them and to run with perseverance and endurance. Is this not the salient and significant evidence of Christian discipleship?
God calls us to persevering faith, demonstrating endurance and continuance – a going on. It takes courage to persevere and endure, and the writer to the Hebrews is addressing discouraged disciples.
In the military context, perseverance means you stand your ground through all the battlefield dangers, refusing to flee, or run away.
In the athletic context, it speaks of not falling back or dropping out.
If the Christian life was regarded as some kind of jolly picnic there would be no need for this type of language.
The disciple of Jesus was taught to throw off everything that hindered and hampered progress – getting rid of burdens, weights, and sins, that could entrap, ensnare, and entangle.
Worry, discouragement, immorality, lust, greed, addiction, fear, and various other emotions, can be impediments which disable disciples in the heat of the battle.
Many things may be legitimate, but the Christian soldier lays them aside as he prepares and runs the race marked out.
AGON is the word used for race from which we get ‘agony’, implying self control in every area of life – a disciplined disciple. Is that you?
Are you known for being a disciplined disciple of Jesus Christ, knowing what you believe and why you believe it – and being able to give an answer for the faith that you have – and being able to do so lovingly and graciously?
All this is never easy. It has never been easy – and that is one reason why the letter to the Hebrews encourages us to persevere.
“Loving Father – our Gracious God – help us to persevere – help us to overcome the obstacles diversions and distractions which can take us away from serving Jesus Christ lovingly and faithfully and joyfully as well as dutifully. Help us – we know we cannot do it on our own. Amen”
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