NT Fire Starters – Day 317: Hebrews 12:1-13
READ: Hebrews 12:1-13
THINK: Some people think that faith means believing that God will rescue them from nearly every problem and pain with little consequence. They feel that being spared from suffering and blessed with success are unmistakable evidence of faith. While faith can definitely be a factor in these situations, the reality is that true, God-inspired faith is tested and proven through difficult circumstances. It takes greater faith to endure a trial with unfailing trust in God than it does to escape a trial without really relying on Him. God doesn’t want you to look for trouble or bring difficulty on yourself. But when tough times come, He doesn’t want you to look for an obvious exit strategy or easy escape hatch. Instead, He wants you to take advantage of every opportunity to strengthen your dependence on Him.
RESPOND: In what way can the faith of those who have gone before us inspire us to greater faith and devotion to Christ? How is the Christian life like a race that requires perseverance? (See 12:1 note.) What must you do to run the race effectively? What does it mean to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,” and why is this crucial in fulfilling God’s plans for you? What kind of things must you put aside, and what disciplines does this require? (See 12:1 note, second paragraph.) Why is it vital to “fix your eyes on Jesus”? (See 12:2 first note.) What inspired Jesus to endure the shame and agony of death on the cross? (See 12:2 second note.) What was the reason for Jesus’ joy? How can Jesus’ example inspire you and keep you from losing heart? What kinds of “discipline” are implied by verse 5? (See 12:5 note.) What does God’s discipline reveal about His character and His relationship with you (cf. v. 6)? Why is your response to God’s discipline a key factor in how it affects your life? (See 12:5 note.) What purposes does God’s discipline serve? What benefits and character traits can discipline develop in your life (vv. 10-11)?
PRAY: Give God thanks for all of the inspiring examples of faith in His Word. Pray for the spiritual strength, stamina and discipline to finish the course God has set before you. Commit to keeping your eyes on Jesus.
ACT: Is there anything keeping you from pursuing God and His purposes with full intensity? It may be a particular sin you’ve struggled with, or a priority that’s out of place. Perhaps it’s something that simply takes up time and energy that could be better spent on something productive for God and beneficial for others. With God’s help, exercise the discipline to put any such thing aside so you can “run with perseverance the race marked out” for you.