“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 (NIV)
Have you ever felt physically and emotionally stretched to the point where you were unsure how much more you could endure? Maybe you are overwhelmed right now, and you have no enthusiasm or energy left?
That is exactly how the Jewish believers who received this book of Hebrews were feeling. They were growing weary. They wanted to give up. Their life of faith was hard, and it was a struggle. Their hearts were faint, and they were tempted to quit.
The writer of Hebrews compares their life of faith to a race and encourages them to keep going even though it’s difficult. He pleads with them not to quit.
Just like these early Christians, God has set before each of us our own race of faith that we must run. It's not a quick sprint or an easy jog to the finish line. It is more like a marathon. And it will require intense strength, commitment, sacrifice, and discipline. Our lives of faith and mine will require real endurance.
Endurance is the ability to bear prolonged hardship. It is the determination to keep moving forward at a steady, unyielding pace.
We will never make it to the finish line on our own. We cannot do it in our own strength. We must “[fix] our eyes on Jesus” and keep our focus on Him. He is the “pioneer and perfecter of [our] faith” (Hebrews 12:2.) He is The One who originates and perfects our faith. As we trust in Him, He will infuse us with the strength and encouragement we need to endure. (Philippians 4:13)
Every time you or I start to grow weary and feel discouraged we need to stop and “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary or lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).
The word “consider” in the original language means to add up or calculate. So let’s take a minute to add up what Jesus has endured for you and me.
He endured unimaginable shame and suffering. He endured tremendous hostility and rejection. He was mocked, scorned, and innocently convicted. He was beaten beyond recognition. He shed His blood and gave His life for you and me. And He endured the full wrath of God on the cross for the sins of the world. Still, through it all, Jesus considered the life of faith to be worth it despite the tremendous suffering involved.
As we consider Him, and all that He endured on our behalf, how could we possibly lose heart? Instead, when we consider Him, it will strengthen our resolve to persevere and to keep following hard after Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are our example. You are the very encouragement we need to persevere and endure. Thank You for all You endured for the sake of the gospel and my sake. Help me keep my eyes, my heart, and my mind focused on You. Prompt me when I grow faint to draw my strength from You. In Jesus’ name, amen.