Enduring

Hebrews 12:1-2
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

How can we endure in our lives of faith?  By remembering those who came before us and were faithful to a promise that was not received in their lifetime, and by being strengthened to go forward since we have received the promise of Christ.  The God who leads us is faithful.  Our God keeps His promises.  And we may not always be able to see far enough ahead, but we can keep going anyway.  We take one step after the other because we know that, even if we can’t see the destination, it awaits us in a future where God already dwells.  And those who have gone before us are a testimony of that.

We endure by getting rid of anything that will hold us back—sin or anything else that may weigh us down or cause us to stumble along the way.  In order to keep moving forward, we’re going to have to let go of some things.  And sometimes that’s just an attitude or doubt or fear.  Sometimes it’s something from the past we’ve carried too long.  Sometimes it’s expectations or wrong choices or focusing too much on what is around us instead of where we’re going.

But mostly, what enables us to endure is looking to Jesus.  He is our great example in every aspect of life, and He shows us how to run a race with endurance.  We remember what He endured for our sakes, how He went all the way to the end and didn’t let anything stop Him, though what He had to do was hard and painful.  Because the reward at the end was worth it.  And for us, Christ Himself is our prize, so as we look to Him, we remember why we’re running in the first place.  And then we can stay focused on the goal of serving Him and pleasing Him no matter what we have to endure.

In the end, the truth is that Jesus is worth it.  It’s hard to run the race.  It’s hard to keep going day after day.  But as we follow our path with a steady pace, we don’t run alone.  And when we finally cross the finish line, we’ll be glad we were faithful to the end.  Because we didn’t run for the applause of men, but to hear Jesus say, “Well done.”  We’ve endured knowing that no matter what else happened along the way, the prize of heaven and eternity with Jesus was assured because of what Jesus already did.

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