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Not Losing Heart

  

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us; fixing our eyes on Jesus; the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross; despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 1-3

Sin easily entangles us. Paul states that when we have our eyes fixed on Jesus we will not grow weary of keeping from sin – even though it seems like it can get the best of us way too often. Jesus endured the cross and shame so that we will not grow weary of laying aside sin and eventually giving way to losing heart. The sin in the context of this passage is that of enduring hostility.

One can only try to imagine the horror of the onslaught that the Roman soldiers, and even Jesus’ own people, imposed upon him. Our minds probably cannot hold the wickedness and depravity spewed out toward our Savior. A year ago I stood upon the underground area where they kept Jesus all night out of sight of others to torture him. I almost got physically ill at just the thought of being in that place. Enduring such hostility, no one to come and rescue, and willingly laying himself down at the feet of the hounds of hell, HE endured. And Paul says that when we keep our eye fixed on Jesus, we will not grow weary or lose heart either.

We may try to lay aside sin but sin stains. Rev. Vince Finnegan asked his congregation if they would like for him to slit open the throat of a goat and sprinkle the blood on us as the priests of the Old Testament were charged to do for the Israelites. Thankfully all were in agreement that this was not a good idea. I have never gone home from church with blood stains on my clothes to remind me of my sin. This very dramatic act was God’s way of reminding the Israelites of their sin all day long. Ever try to get out blood stains? It takes special soaps, temperature of the water and soaking. And, even then, some fabrics will just not give up the stain.

Being sin stained, we are without hope. God’s plan of Jesus’ gift of his perfect blood as atonement for our sin is the only remover of sin.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. Isaiah 1:18 (NLT)

It is only through the blood of Jesus Christ that our sin stained lives are redeemed from the hand of Satan and delivered to God. God has now given us the ability to not willfully sin through the enabling power of the holy spirit which convicts us of wrong thoughts and actions. Holy spirit helps us so that we do not loose heart because it reminds us of the finished work of Jesus the Messiah.

How very many people we come in contact with daily have lost heart. Their faces show exhaustion, their voices are sharp, and they feel completely overwhelmed by life. Some Christians become carnally minded because the world entangles them. They have no endurance against it. Our endurance comes from the One Who endured the cross. He never lost heart because He understood His relationship with God. He knew His purpose in this age and in the age to come. As we emulate how Jesus lived His life, we will not lose heart. We will endure faithfully until the end.

3 Responses to “Not Losing Heart”

  1. on 03 Apr 2007 at 6:40 amPat

    .Mary Ann What a powerful post. Would we all take heed. Would we all be of the same mind, would we all internalize these truths would we all help each other to this end. We need to focus on the Joy of the Lord herein is our strength. Let us all pray for each other.

  2. on 03 Apr 2007 at 6:45 amSean

    Patty is right, community is the key to endurance:

    Hebrews 10:23-25
    23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
    24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
    25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

  3. on 05 Apr 2007 at 7:41 amKen

    What a great article, Mary Ann, to remind us not to lose heart! Also, what helpful reminders, Pat and Sean.
    Hebrews has such wonderful exhortations along these lines:
    Brothers, you must be very careful to avoid a situation in which the heart of any of you becomes so wicked in its refusal to believe that he thereby becomes a deserter from the living God. So long as it is possible to use the word “Today” in that appeal to God you must rather daily urge one one another not to allow any of you to be made stubborn against God by sin’s seductive influence. For we have been made partners with Christ, if only we preserve firm the confidence we had at the beginning.
    Hebrews 3: 12 – 14 Barclay Translation
    We certainly need each others continual prayers and timely exhortations.

  

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