Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Hebrews 12:1-2
Don't lose heart! Never give up!
If you have ever observed a long-distance runner, you may notice that they keep their focus on the finish line.
They may get tired or even have to cross hurdles.
It may seem that the whole race is uphill, but they run with the finish line in mind.
It's what propels them forward.
So likewise, we are to set our minds on Christ, focusing on the eternity with Jesus that awaits us. We may feel tired at times and worn out at others. But, when we look at our pain compared to the eternity we will have with Jesus, we can take heart--because our suffering is only momentary. Heaven is forever!
Hebrews also instructs us to set aside any sin that weighs us down so that our lives are pleasing to God because sin separates us from Him. Staying in God's Word and praying to Him breeds trust and builds our relationship with Him. Hebrews says that when Jesus was facing the cross on Friday, He set His mind on the joy set before Him.
He was able to endure unspeakable suffering and pain on the cross because He knew the joy that was coming when He would be resurrected on Sunday. So likewise, we are to model His example, living with an eternal mindset, knowing there is hope after this life.
As we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, He will carry us through the pain, loneliness, and difficulties we face.
Whatever you are going through today, Jesus understands. He suffered and died, experiencing every betrayal, hurt, disappointment, and bit of suffering imaginable. He is our example. When we are weary or tempted to sin, we need only to remember that Christ loves us so much He bore death on the cross so that we could be with Him for eternity!
Margaret Sims Gilmer