Hebrews 12:1b-2a - The Race of Faith is Looking Unto Jesus!
Hebrews 12:1b-2a - The Race of Faith is Looking Unto Jesus!
Hebrews 12:1b-2a (NKJV) Let us run with endurance the race that
is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of
Hebrews 12:1b-2a (TNIV) Let us run with perseverance the race
marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter
The single-hearted purpose that should characterize the
Christian's race for eternal life is found here in the book of Hebrews. AA
Toddlers are notorious for their short attention spans. Older
children and especially adults, however, can fix their attention on
something for quite some time. Have you ever tried to pull a ten-year-old
away from a favorite video game? Or how about trying to pull an avid
sports fan away from the game of the week?
It is with this kind of absorption that the writer of Hebrews
says we should fix our attention on Jesus. Unlike video games and
sporting events, focusing our entire attention on Jesus can benefit us in
many ways, the most important of which is a deep relationship with
God. As you read this passage, refocus your eyes on Christ.
Jesus suffered tremendous humiliation, injustice, and
physical pain to do God's will (Hebrews 12:2-4). Strangers arrested him
for crimes he didn't commit, beat him, mocked him, and spat on him.
Friends deserted him. His heavenly Father left him to die alone. He died
slowly and painfully in the company of common thieves. He became an
offering for our sin (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). That is the price Jesus
paid to obey his heavenly Father.
The struggles you endure to follow Jesus are real. It takes
energy and commitment to say no to sinful desires, to do good deeds
that you don't want to do, and to discipline yourself to pray and
study God's Word on a regular basis.
When you feel discouraged in your Christian life, think of
Jesus and all he went through to do what God wanted. Then take heart
knowing that you can do what God requires of you by his strength and
grace. Stay focused on him. [The One Year Through the Bible Devotional
by Dave Veerman]
Eugene Peterson observes that millions make decisions for
Christ but then are captured by a "tourist mind-set." They want instant
spirituality, "adopting the lifestyle of a tourist and wanting only the high
That perspective contrasts sharply with developing a mature
Christian life. The title of one of Peterson's books, A Long Obedience in
the Same Direction, captures what discipleship actually requires.
An authentic spiritual journey is more than merely an
enriching experience a museum visit or getting an advanced degree. It's
a rigorous adventure, in many ways as demanding of our bodies and
souls as the tales told by Homer, Tolstoy, or Hemingway.
Peterson contrasts the idea of a spiritual tourist with two
biblical words: disciple and pilgrim.
As disciples, we learn from our Master throughout our life's
journey. Peterson says that our learning - unlike gathering information
and insight in a school or an online course - is like being "at the
work site of a craftsman." We learn right in the midst of our
tumultuous lives, with Jesus the master carpenter and craftsman guiding and
deepening us as we learn and grow.
We are also pilgrims on a lifetime journey. With a strange
sense that this world is not our home - despite our firm attachment to
it - we seek the way to the Father's house.
How do we find our way? Peterson tells us: "Abraham, who
'went out' is our archetype. Jesus, answering Thomas's question,
'Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?'
gives us direction. 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can
come to the Father except through me.'"
Father in heaven, help me to be not a tourist but a pilgrim
and a disciple. Guide me and fill my mind and spirit with your
Spirit. Keep me faithful on my journey as each new challenge appears.
[The One Year Book of Encouragement by Harold Myra]
We [run our race] by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion
who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:2
At some level, this is the answer to every question in the
Christian life: Keep your eyes on Jesus. Need a picture of God's nature?
It's Jesus. Need words that come straight from God's mouth? Jesus
speaks them. Need your prayers answered? Abide in Jesus, as He
promised, and then ask whatever is on your heart. Need to know the
lifestyle of someone who does what the Father does, hears what the Father
says, and accomplishes miracles in the power of the Spirit? Jesus
gives us ample cues about how to stay connected with God and bring the
climate of heaven to earth. Whatever growth we desire, whatever promises
we've been given, whatever calling and destiny we step into, it's all
through our life in Him.
That means we don't have to figure out our priorities every
day. Jesus is at the top of the list all the time. If we lose our
focus at any given moment, we must do whatever we can to regain it.
Somehow, amid all the distractions and responsibilities of life, we're to
keep Jesus front and center. When we are fully living "in Him," not
just as our God-given position but in our practical awareness, we
don't just "get by." We are more alive than we have ever been.
This life in Jesus is our connection with the Father's voice.
Cultivating that connection is essential. This comes before all techniques,
principles, advice, and anything else we try to figure out. Anyone can hear
God if he or she is aware of being deeply connected with Jesus
moment by moment. He is in us. We are in Him. And all of life - every
aspect of it - is based on that relationship.
Jesus, it's so easy to forget that it's all about You. My
life, my desire to follow God, my longing to hear His voice - it's
still all about You. As You live Your life within me, my heart softens
toward God and my spiritual ears open up. So live fully, deeply, boldly
in every inch of my being. [The One Year Hearing His Voice
Devotional by Chris Tiegreen]
Linger in My presence a while. Rein in your impulses to plunge
into the day's activities. Beginning your day alone with Me is
essential preparation for success. A great athlete takes time to prepare
himself mentally for the feat ahead of him before he moves a muscle.
Similarly, your time of being still in My Presence equips you for the day
ahead of you. Only I know what will happen to you this day. I have
arranged the events you will encounter as you go along your way. If you
are not adequately equipped for the journey, you will grow weary and
lose heart. Relax with Me while I ready you for action. (Eph. 2:10;
Heb. 12:3) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
Make Me your focal point as you move through this day. Just as a
spinning ballerina must keep returning her eyes to a given point to
maintain her balance, so you must keep returning your focus to Me.
Circumstances are in flux, and the world seems to be whirling around you. The
only way to keep your balance is to fix your eyes on Me, the One who
never changes. If you gaze too long at your circumstances, you will
become dizzy and confused. Look to Me, refreshing yourself in My
Presence, and your steps will be steady and sure. (Heb. 12:2; Psa.
102:27) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
Gaze at Me; glance at problems - this is the secret of living
victoriously. Your tendency is to gaze at problems for prolonged periods of
time, glancing at Me for help. This is natural for someone with a
fallen mind living in a fallen world. However, I have called you to
live supernaturally, and I have empowered you to do so. The Holy
Spirit, who lives in all My followers, enables you to live beyond
yourself - to transcend your natural tendencies.
Ask My Spirit to help you fix your gaze on Me. Invite Him to
alert you whenever you get overly focused on problems so you can
redirect your attention to Me. This is hard work, because it is not only
unnatural but also countercultural. Moreover, the evil one and his demons
seek to distract you from My Presence. All these influences working
together put massive pressure on you to pay attention to your problems -
or else! So you need the assistance of My Spirit continually. Ask
Him to help you deal with difficulties as needed, while reserving
the bulk of your attention for Me - your constant Companion. (Heb.
12:2; John 14:16, 17; 2Co. 4:18) [Jesus Today by Sarah Young]
Try to stay conscious of Me as you go step by step through
this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. My
final statement just before I ascended into heaven was: Surely I am
with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without
The promise of My Presence is a powerful protection. As you
journey through your life, there are numerous pitfalls along the way.
Many voices clamor for your attention, enticing you to go their way.
A few steps away from your true path are pits of self-pity and
despair, plateaus of pride and self-will. If you take your eyes off Me
and follow another's way,you are in grave danger. Even well-meaning
friends can lead you astray if you let them usurp My place in your life.
The way to stay on the path of Life is to keep your focus on Me.
Awareness of My Presence is your best protection. (Mat. 28:20; Heb. 12:1,
2) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
Give yourself fully to the adventure of today. Walk boldly along
the path of Life, relying on your ever-present Companion. You have
every reason to be confident, because My Presence accompanies you all
the days of your life - and onward into eternity. Do not give in to
fear or worry, those robbers of abundant living. Trust Me enough to
face problems as they come, rather than trying to anticipate them.
Fix your eyes on Me, the Author and Perfecter of your faith, and
many difficulties on the road ahead will vanish before you reach
them. Whenever you start to feel afraid, remember that I am holding
you by your right hand. Nothing can separate you from My Presence!
(Heb. 12:2; Isa. 41:13) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
Be on guard against the pit of self-pity. When you are weary
or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face. Don't
even go near the edge of the pit. Its edges crumble easily, and
before you know it, you are on the way down. It is ever so much harder
to get out of the pit than to keep a safe distance from it. That is
why I tell you to be on guard.
There are several ways to protect yourself from self-pity.
When you are occupied with praising and thanking Me, it is impossible
to feel sorry for yourself. Also, the closer you live to Me, the
more distance there is between you and the pit. Live in the Light of
My Presence by fixing your eyes on Me. Then you will be able to run
with endurance the race that is set before you, without stumbling or
falling. (Psalm 89:15, 16; Heb. 12:1, 2) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
The world abounds with negative things to think about.
Sometimes problems - yours or others' - seem to shout for your attention.
They can occupy more and more of your thinking, causing you to become
weary and discouraged in your soul. But remember: You can choose the
subject of your thoughts. Cry out to Me and I will help you. Turn toward
Me, letting My Light shine upon you.
Do not be defeated by wrong choices you have made in the
past. And don't let past decisions define who you are in the present.
Each moment provides a fresh opportunity to draw near Me and enjoy My
Presence. One way to do this is to pray, "Jesus, I choose to seek You in
the midst of my problems." Refuse to get discouraged, even if you
have to say this hundreds of times daily. In this world you will have
trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. You can find Peace in
Me. (Heb. 12:3; Psa. 34:6, 7; John 16:33) [Jesus Today by Sarah
My face is shining upon you, beaming out Peace that
transcends understanding. You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you
are face to Face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me,
you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around
you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start
to sink, simply call out "Help me, Jesus!" and I will lift you up.
The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances
around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in
the distance. Fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes. By the
time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of
My design. I am always beside you, helping you face today's waves.
The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future!
Stay close to Me. (Phi. 4:7; Mat. 14:30; Heb. 12:2) [Jesus Calling by
Worship Me only. Whatever occupies your mind the most becomes
your god. Worries, if indulged, develop into idols. Anxiety gains a
life of its own, parasitically infesting your mind. Break free from
this bondage by affirming your trust in Me and refreshing yourself in
My Presence. What goes on in your mind is invisible, undetectable
to other people. But I read your thoughts continually, searching
for evidence of trust in Me. I rejoice when your mind turns toward
Me. Guard your thoughts diligently; good thought-choices will keep
you close to Me. (Psa. 112:7; 1Co. 13:11) [Jesus Calling by Sarah
Trust and thankfulness will get you safely through this day.
Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing. Thankfulness keeps you
from criticizing and complaining: those "sister sins" that so easily
Keeping your eyes on Me is the same thing as trusting Me. It
is a free choice that you must make thousands of times daily. The
more you choose to trust Me, the easier it becomes. Thought patterns
of trust become etched into your brain. Relegate troubles to the
periphery of your mind, so that I can be central in your thoughts. Thus
you focus on Me, entrusting your concerns into My care. (Col. 2:6,
7; Psa. 141:8; 1Pe. 5:7) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE:
LINKS WORTH CHECKING OUT:
Importance of Choice:
http://creationhealth.com/CREATION-Health/Choice [click on video]
Seeking God Video Clip: http://vimeo.com/31489782
Prophecies Decoded Sermon Series: