“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Last week on Grace Place, we began the first of our summer reflections on godly perseverance from Hebrews 12:1-3. So true to my Father’s relentless love for me, I learned a lesson this week which is the very foundation of running the race with perseverance: Godly perseverance can only be sustained with a pure heart.
Let me explain: Last week my scheduled activities were heavy, temperatures warm, and there were also many opportunities to “one another”- listen, share, comfort, encourage and sometimes challenge. I found myself wilting; not only with the heat, but with my heart.
My attitude began to suffer. All my sinful “selfs” began to rear their ugly heads– self-pity, self-righteousness, self- justification, pride. I began to complain to the Lord; maybe not vocally, but in my heart. I was persevering in ministry for the Lord wasn’t I? But does all of it really make a difference? I don’t see much fruit. I just want to be home with my feet up! Besides, I don’t have much energy and I don’t like THAT one bit! Yikes! Not a pretty picture. On the inside, my heart was whining and rebelling like a spoilt child.
I was later reminded that my attitude was not unlike the older son in the parable of the prodigal son. The older son felt hard done to. He felt he had persevered for his father in his work and loyalty and received nothing in return. But as the father in the parable reminded the older son, (Luke 15:11-31), my heavenly Father reminded me of His great love, patience and faithfulness.
As I read of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, I was greatly convicted. They followed the invisible God, clinging to his promises, knowing God could be trusted to keep them. Today, we have been given so much more this side of the cross! All of God’s promises are yes in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor. 1:20)
Through my tears, I repented of my sinful heart. Peace and rest flooded my soul. I realized, AGAIN, that there is the bigger picture of God’s promises going on beyond what I can see in my little world. You know, sisters, our perseverance may be spot on, but if our hearts and motives are not in line with God’s heart, we will suffer, become disillusioned and weary. We must persevere, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because of Jesus-for His purposes. His glory. Our good. Although we may never see the fruit as we read in Hebrews 11, we can have full assurance that God’s promises and purposes will come to pass in and through us because of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Will you help me to keep my eyes on Jesus as I persevere in HIS name; not in MY name?
So where is your heart with what God has given to you to persevere with this week?
I am praying for us all reader, that we will fix our eyes on Jesus as we persevere for Him.
Love, Kathy xo