Lift Your Drooping Hands

Hebrews 12 begins with an exhortation to us who profess faith in Jesus Christ to lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, so that we can run with endurance the race God set before us to run. And then it goes on to talk about the struggle against sin and the disciplines of the Lord Jesus. And then it says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

Hebrews 12:12-17 ESV

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”

Make the Way Straight

The imagery here is speaking of spiritual weakness. It is encouraging those who are spiritually weak, who are perhaps yielding to sin’s deceitfulness, and who have not been putting on the armor of God, to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against them. For hands which hang down can be deeds which are not in line with the holiness of God, and they may represent spiritual laziness and carelessness and/or discouragement. And when I think of knees I think of bowing the knee to Jesus Christ in submission to his will, so weak knees could be those lacking in full surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord.

And when I think of straight paths I think of the ways of the Lord, and the ways of holiness and righteousness. And I think of John the Baptist whose assignment from God was to make straight the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:1-11; Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:4; John 1:23). He was to make plain and to make pure and righteous the way of the Lord, for he was to proclaim our need to repent of (turn away from) our sins so that we can follow our Lord in righteousness and in holiness, in obedience to his commands.

So, if we make straight paths for our feet, we will make honest, righteous, upright, holy, godly, morally pure, and trustworthy ways (paths) for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, which are the ways of God. And we will no longer live in spiritual mediocrity because of laziness, giving way to sin’s deceitfulness just because we don’t have the courage and determination to live godly and holy lives to the glory of God because we feel that resisting the devil and fleeing temptation is just too hard, and giving in to sin is easy.

Now we are encouraged here to make straight (holy, righteous) paths for our feet (our walks of faith) so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. And let’s look at this in the context of Esau who sold his birthright for a single meal. Afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. And also let’s look at this in the context of the encouragement to see to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God.

Basically, what this is teaching is that our faith in Jesus Christ and our salvation from sin and the hope of eternal life with God are not attained by a mere one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ whereby we are told that all our sins are forgiven and that heaven is now guaranteed us when we die, and that nothing and no one can ever take that away from us, not even our own sinful rebellion and rejection of Christ as Lord and deliberate and habitual sin and lack of obedience and surrender to Jesus Christ.

Our faith must be continuous for it to be God-given faith, and our salvation is also continuous. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present active), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns for his bride, provided that we walk in holiness and righteousness, and in obedience to our Lord, and that we remain steadfast in those walks of faith until the very end. So salvation is progressive, and we must continue in it, in walking in it, or we don’t have eternal life with God, even if we seek it with tears.

The Grace of God

For the grace of God, which is bringing us salvation, instructs us to renounce (say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14). So God’s grace is not just forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. His grace is deliverance from our slavery to sin so that we can now be slaves of God and of his righteousness, in the power, strength, and wisdom of God, and to the glory and praise of God (Romans 6:1-23).

So, if you fail to obtain the grace of God, it is because you did not die and/or you are not presently dying with Christ to sin, and you did not live and/or you are not actively living to him and to his righteousness, in obedience to his commands, for you loved your sin more. So therefore you sold your birthright in favor of continuing in your sinful practices. You gave up your salvation and your eternal life with God because you wanted to hold on to your sexual immorality, your lying, and your cheating more than you wanted God and his salvation from sin.

And some of this stems from a root of bitterness, for sinful acts are a result of what we have stored up in our hearts. And bitterness is something that gets stored in one’s heart when that person doesn’t get his own way or when he/she feels that God and/or another person did him/her wrong in some way. So lack of forgiveness is involved here, too, as well as pride. For pride is what keeps people from bowing the knee to the Lord in full surrender, and it is what keeps someone holding on to his/her sin, for that person wants to maintain control over his/her own life and will not let God take control.

So, again, please know that a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ once in your life, or more than once, is not enough to secure for you salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For true faith in Jesus Christ dies with him to sin, not just once, but daily (continually), and it walks (in conduct, in practice) with the Lord in holiness and righteousness, and in obedience to his commands. So, if sin is what you practice, and if righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Lord are not your practice, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven, regardless of what faith you profess with your lips.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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