Perfecter of Faith

Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB

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.

Our Eyes on Jesus

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are delivered from darkness (sin) and we are brought into God’s wonderful light (truth, righteousness). By the Spirit of God, sin has been put to death in our lives so that we can now live to Christ and to his righteousness in the power of the Spirit now living within us. By the Spirit we can now walk in victory over sin and in godliness, living holy lives pleasing to God. For, sin is no longer our master. Jesus Christ is!

Nonetheless, we are clay vessels in the Potter’s hands. We still live in flesh bodies which are subject to weakness. So, daily we must die to sin and self. And, daily we must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh. And, daily we must put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, too. And, daily we must walk according to the Spirit and follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his instructions to us.

So, we must cut out of our lives everything which hinders our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord, whatever that may be. A hindrance is anything which leads us into sin or that which prevents us from hearing the Lord clearly and walking in his ways and in his truth, being and doing what he has called us to be and to do. It is anything which pulls us away from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ, and that distracts us from doing what our Lord says. And, that can be as individual as we are.

We are also to forsake all sins, for sin easily entangles us and prevents us from following Jesus Christ with our lives. Sin is a great hindrance to walks of purity and righteousness. But, the goal here is not just behavioral modification. The goal here is heart transformation. Jesus died that we might die to sin, but he also died that we might live to righteousness. So, we put off the sin and we put on Christ and his righteousness (Eph. 4:17-24).

And, Jesus Christ is our example as to how we should resist Satan and flee temptation, and how we should draw near to God in full assurance of faith. He resisted sin to the point of shedding his blood on a cross, taking our sin upon himself so that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin and live to his righteousness. And, he did this for the joy of our salvation. And, he did so while enduring great hostility from sinful humans who were opposed to him and his message.

For, when we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, and we walk in the fear of the Lord, honoring and valuing our Lord, and obeying his commands, we will serve as a threat to Satan’s kingdom, and he will hotly pursue us in order to destroy us. Yet, we must not give in to his temptations or to his threats against us, but we must continue to follow our Lord with our lives with ever increasing faithfulness and persistence, so that we can run the race of life which God has marked out for each one of us to run in all purity and holiness.

Hebrews 12:4-11 NASB

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

For Our Good!

In order for us to remain faithful to our Lord in resisting Satan and fleeing temptation and walking in holiness and purity, we must live spiritually disciplined lives – all in the power and working of God’s Spirit now living within us. So God, who loves us, allows situations in our lives or brings circumstances into our lives in order to prune us, to correct us, and to move us away from giving way to our flesh, and to move us towards yielding to the Lordship of Christ in our lives on a daily basis.

The Christian lifestyle, in other words, is a life of daily spiritual discipline, of resisting Satan, fleeing temptation and drawing near to our Lord in fellowship with him and in yielding to his will and purposes for our lives. And, this is so that we do not go back to living as we did before we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, but so that we keep growing in our walks of faith, being made into the likeness of Christ.

Yet, when our Lord reproves us, prunes us and purifies us, it is for our good, that we may share in his holiness, becoming like him in his death to sin. It is that we might live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin and separate unto God and to his service. And, it is that we might be far removed from sin so that we can walk in the ways of the Lord, being his hands and feet and the light of his love and grace to the world around us.

When we respond correctly to difficult circumstances in our lives, by calling on God in our misery, seeking his face and his will, turning from any known sins in our lives, and following him wherever it is he leads us, then that discipline is able to do its work in our lives in changing us, renewing us in our faith, and in God using us to minister his love and grace to others so that their lives might be transformed by the power of God’s Spirit, too.

Hebrews 12:12-13 NASB

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Strengthen What is Weak

So, because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on a cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, we should follow the instructions in this passage of scripture with regard to resisting Satan and fleeing temptation and forsaking all sinful practices and cutting out of our lives all things which serve as hindrances to our walks of faith. And, if we are serious about doing this, the Lord will make clear to us what those things are.

Then, we should run with great perseverance the race (the walk) that God has set out for us, which is a walk of holiness, purity and righteousness. We do this in the power and working of God’s Spirit within us, but only as we cooperate fully with his work of grace in our lives.

We must not hold on to any willful sins, but we must yield daily to our Lord’s leading in our lives. And, we must go wherever he leads us and do and say whatever it is that he commands us to do and to say. We must respond to his promptings by yielding to Him in everything and by saying “No” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts). We must not make any path for sin to have its way in our lives or to excuse it away, but we must be willing always to obey our Lord in every way.

So, not only must we be in the Word of God daily, learning what it says, and then doing what it says, but we must also not be doing what is counterproductive to a godly life. We can’t take in the junk of the world into our minds daily and think that it will not impact our thinking, attitudes and behaviors. It will! We can’t watch what is sensual or seductive and expect to have minds which are pure and holy. So, we have to clean out the old junk out of our lives and minds so that we can walk in purity and in the ways of the Lord.

So, what is the Lord leading you today to cut out of your life? For me, I believe it is food that my body does not need or that is bad for it. I need to better discipline my eating. It is hard to do some days when we are traveling or staying with other people or we are going here and there and are not home much, which describes our lives of late. So, I need to get a handle on that, and as much as is within my control, I need to do a better job of disciplining my eating habits so that they are where I believe God would have them to be.

I want to not have anything in my life which will hinder my walk of faith, and I want to make straight paths for my feet so that I may not falter in doing what God has called me to do, so I pray that the Lord will reveal to me any weak areas of my life which need to be strengthened, and that I would obey him in everything, not holding on to anything which may hinder me from obeying him fully and being used of him in the lives of others.

Shine Jesus Shine
By Graham Kendrick

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word, Lord and let there be light

Friday, July 27, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for this passage of scripture and that you love us enough to discipline us so that we will walk in your ways.

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