Fix your eyes on Jesus and the finish line by reading Hebrews 12:1-3 every day for ten days.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. —Hebrews 12:1
I’ve spent many evenings and weekends sitting in the stands, watching my son play basketball. I yell and cheer as he steals the ball and runs up to the basket to make a shot. “Go! Go!” I shout, along with all those on the sidelines.
At the end of this past season, we attended a banquet to celebrate the team’s efforts.
- We listened to the team members who were graduating share about their experiences.
- We heard testimonies of how they improved their athletic ability.
- We learned how their perseverance and hard work paid off.
These stories encouraged my son, who now gets to follow in their steps.
The book of Hebrews was written to a group of struggling believers. They were weary in their race of faith. They faced severe persecution. Perhaps they were tempted to drop out of the race altogether. To encourage them forward, the author listed heroes of the faith who believed God and followed Him where he led, heroes such as Moses, David, and Rahab. They too endured great suffering but stayed in the race of faith. They persevered.
Hebrews 12 begins, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” All those listed in faith’s “hall of fame” are the witnesses the writer of Hebrews was referring to. Like a witness in the courtroom, they testify to who God is and what He has done. Their lives are testimonies for us. They faced hardship and persecution; yet, they endured. Their lives of faith testify of what it looks like to run the race well. Their lives shout at us to keep going: Jesus is worth it!
Just as my son looks to the older boys on the team as examples of what he can attain in his favorite sport, we too have heroes of the faith we can look to as godly examples. This “cloud of witnesses” encourages us forward by their perseverance, despite the obstacles and hardships. Let us learn from their witness to run hard for Jesus.
Father in heaven, I thank You for the men and women throughout the centuries whose lives testify to who You are. I thank You for their witness. I pray that I would learn from them and that their example of endurance would help me to push forward in my own race of faith. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Reflect and Respond
- Read Hebrews 11. Were these “heroes” perfect? If not, why were they included? What is it that makes them witnesses to learn from and follow?
- Who are some other heroes, or witnesses of the faith, you can look to as an example?
- Read 1 Corinthians 11:1 and Philippians 3:17, 4:9. In imitating Paul, who would these Christians ultimately imitate?
- Read Hebrews 13:17. Name some leaders in your life that you can imitate.
- Find other ways to learn from mature believers. Read a biography of a missionary. Join a Titus 2 discipleship group and learn from an older woman. Ask those who are more mature in the faith what they have learned from following Jesus.