Friday, October 29, 2021
Yesterday in our discussion of the REAL church we talked about the passion to accomplish the purpose of Christ – witnessing to the resurrection power of Jesus to bring eternal life to those who are dead in their sin. We read a passage of Scripture from Hebrews 11 that describes people who passionately pursued God’s purpose at the risk of severe persecution and death. What motivated them to go to the limits of human endurance and beyond? The answer to that question is found in the next chapter of Hebrews. It says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
We have an example to follow; a model to mimic, a person to personify. He is Jesus. He endured the shame and the pain of accomplishing God’s purpose because He knew the joy of the promise He had been given. Jesus did not falter in the time of fatigue because He had his heart fixed on the future, where God would restore Him and reward Him.
That is what the angels were saying to the apostles when they watched Jesus ascend into heaven to His place of reward.
Acts 1:9-11 “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Instead of fixing our eyes on the circumstances of the present, we fix our hearts on the certainty of the promise. Jesus is coming back, and when He does we will experience the fullness of joy and the perfection of life.
No matter how hard I try today, I will not be able to make life perfect. I will not be able to fix all of my own problems, and certainly not any of yours. So if problems are a fact of life, why not let the cause of those problems be honoring to God? What on earth could I mean by that? Well, most of the problems that exist in my life are caused by my pursuit of my own agenda. That does not honor God. What honors God is the pursuit of His agenda. We have been told in Scripture that the pursuit of God’s purpose will separate us from the world and bring us trouble. Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
If the problems that are in my life are primarily caused by my selfish pursuits, then what promise do I have for relief from those problems? But if the problems in my life are being caused by a world that is rejecting the stand I take for Jesus Christ, then the promises I have for relief from those problems are many:
- sufficient grace for each day to endure anything; (2 Corinthians 9:8 and 12:9)
- Jesus has already overcome the world; (John 16:33)
- with Jesus in us we are already overcomers of the world; (1 John 4:4)
- the glory and joy we will experience at the return of Jesus Christ cannot be compared to any of the suffering we are enduring today. (Romans 8:18)
Take some time and look up those verses, and discover the incredible freedom to live out the purpose of Jesus Christ when we have our eyes fixed on the right finish line. We are not running the race of the world, so do not look at the world’s finish lines. We are running the race that has been marked out for us by God, so let’s fix our eyes on the glory of God’s finish line. Jesus is waiting there to greet us.