Ep.263: Hebrews 12: How to Make Faith Perfect.
Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Hebrews 12 says:
Therefore, since we have a great cloud of witnesses
let us lay aside everything that hinders
and the sin which entangles, and
let us run with patience
the race that is set before us
fixing our eyes on Jesus
the author and perfecter of faith.
Our cloud of witnesses is the heroes of faith highlighted in Hebrews 11. We could imagine them peering down from heaven, cheering us on in our race of faith. More likely, the author means that their lives witnessed to the faith we have taken up. We keep the faith by emulating their encouraging stories.
How to do this? The author’s advice: think like a long-distance runner. Strip down to the essentials–running shoes, shorts, shirt. Pace yourself for the long haul. Lay aside everything that hinders and sins which entangle.
So, why don’t we disentangle ourselves and run freely, successfully, in the faith? I look to several reasons in my experience.
I go in fits and starts rather than running a long, patient race. If I begin a new program of devotions on Monday, by Friday I’m either sleeping in or surfing world news instead of reading scripture or praying.
If I decide to use my time more wisely and efficiently, I soon become confused about what to do next. Before I know it, the afternoon is squandered playing computer Scrabble.
I think of the people I could phone or meet. But first, maybe, a nap.
Perhaps I should try harder, beat myself up, or look for new strategies to get stuff done.
The author of Hebrews suggests a better approach. He says, simply: Look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.
Easier said than done. How can I look to Jesus? Hebrews 11 says Moses persevered because he saw him who was invisible (v. 27).
I don’t have Moses’ skill of seeing the invisible. But here is one way I look to Jesus. I’ve always been plagued with memories of wrongs I committed, people I’ve failed, opportunities squandered, time lost, lack of progress in things material and spiritual. Those memories come unbidden, unwelcome, triggering self-condemnation. Recently, when I think of those things I pray,
Jesus, I leave my past at your cross,
to forgive all my sin,
to heal all my disease,
to fix all that is broken.
That’s it. My simple discipline of turning, or repenting, or fixing my eyes on Jesus.
O Jesus, we live by seeing the invisible, by inhabiting metaphors of salvation. We eat your body and drink your blood, and work in your invisible kingdom. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to believe, and courage to live the life of faith.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.
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