Back in November, I wrote a piece that looked a little different from what I normally write and I reflected on scripture that was speaking to me and encouraging me at the time. June 2018 looks a lot similar. Uninspired by what to write, the Lord graciously reminded me this morning of Hebrew 11 and 12, and specifically the bit about running the race marked out for us. And not just running it, but throwing off everything unnecessary in order that we might run it to our best ability.
Recently I have been thinking about how much ‘junk’ we hold onto, that is neither necessary or helpful. We grip our insecurities like long lost children, and hold onto pain from the past as if it were our only true treasure. Look up last months post if you want to remember what real treasure is.
I find it interesting that the bit about ‘throwing off’ the chains and running, comes directly after a call to faith. The writer of Hebrews lists biblical examples of those that conquered life by having faith, then tells us quite directly to just ‘get on with it’. I’ve always imagined the ‘throwing off’ bit like a heavy winter coat released from your shoulders and falling to the ground, and then the sprint that the previous chapter eludes too. It is like the writer is saying, these guys caught wind of what Jesus introduced, filled up with hope of a ‘better way’, threw off the conditions of living under the Law, and ran with a new freedom, so get on with it, because you can, and need to too.
I love that he doesn’t ‘sugar coat’ this choice though. Homeless, hungry, naked, flogged, killed, destitute, persecuted, mistreated – none of those sound good, so why would I? Because ‘Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see’. It is the assurance that God is a God of promise and so we persevere in faith, because ‘when we have done the will of God, we will receive what he has promised. For “in just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay”‘ (Heb 10:36). Many people today are losing faith and leaving the church, but this is not what God desires. We need to run, and run well, all the way to the end, for like Jesus, our joy will be made perfect at the appointed time. So like I found last November, I could continue to write my own revelations of what this scripture means to me, but I think I want to let Holy Spirit lead you into this one himself.
Encouraged to let go of what does not really matter, to throw off your heavy winter coat, to run hard, and well, all the way to the end and to remember always, that the joy set before Jesus then, is also set before you now, and you will find your reward if you do not give up.
– K xx
(All of Hebrews 11:1-31)
32: And what more can I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.
Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging and even chains and imprisonment They were put to death by stoning, they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute and persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that so easily 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.
Hebrews 11: 32-40; 12:1