Friday, January 6, 2012

"Spiritual Exercise in the New Year": 1st Exercise

Hebrews 12:1-3:  "Therefore, since we are surprised 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 on the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

The first spiritual exercise in this passage is to:  Remember forerunners of the faith (v. 1a).  This verses uses athletic imagery and therefore seems to imply that those in heaven are spectators in some sense--that we are to run the race envisioning them cheering us on.  These men and women faced obstacles just like we do.  But they placed their faith in God and through Him achieved victory.

Hebrews 11 shows us some specific people who can encourage us with some truths about God:
  • Noah had to wait 120 years to see God's plan fulfilled in His life (v. 7)
  • Sarah had to believe God for the impossible (v. 11-12).
  • Joseph was sold into slavery, was imprisoned on false charges, was forgotten by those he helped, and life seemed unfair to him--yet he trusted in God in spite of his circumstances (v. 22).
  • Despite miserable failures, Samson and David both show us God's grace and His plan to use them in migty ways.
All of those mentioned in Hebrews 11 cry out to us today:  "God is faithful!  You can trust Him!  Don't give up--God will see you through."  Remember the forerunners of the faith!  

(More"spiritual esercises for the new year to come.")