It is so easy to roll through life without being intentional. A life well lived required focus. The primary focal point is Jesus.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We ended with this passage in the last post and I want to talk about it a bit.
The great cloud of witnesses is what was talked about in Hebrews 11. They are cheering us on…encouraging us in the race of life.
In order to run that race effectively and with great speed, we need to toss off the unnecessary things that weigh us and slow us down (throw off everything that hinders). What hinders us? He says, sin. Sin hinders. Sin entangles. Sin slows us down.
But tossing aside distractions and sin isn’t enough…you still have to direct your life in a particular direction. The way to get your life oriented in the proper direction is to “fix our eyes on Jesus”. Why? Because he was the original…the trail blazer…the pioneer. Jesus showed us the way to the Father. Jesus is the way to the Father (John 14:6).
The trail Jesus blazed went straight through suffering and in doing so, Christ received great joy and glory (“for the joy set before…sat down at the right hand of God). While we won’t sit at the right hand of God we can be sure that the road to joy often and inexorably goes through suffering. So many people focus on their feelings as the gauge of what is best…but that is not what we are to focus on. That can lead us in a million wrong directions. What happens when suffering comes? It doesn’t feel good…you quit. We can do better than that!
Stay focused. Toss off hindrances…which are often sin…intentionally focus on Jesus and his way of living and being…and run the race he marked out…that will surely take us to and through suffering and on to joy and glory! Since we know these things in advance we will not lose heart!
So many Christians lose heart because they are never told that following Jesus will take them to and through hard places and situations. When difficulty comes they are like the seed tossed on the path or among the rocks…the quickly fade. Let us know be like that seed…let us continue racing toward Jesus no matter what tries to get in the way.
I don’t know who out there needs to hear this message today but I hope that you can assess all the things you give focused attention to and make sure Jesus is getting your best and most.
“Throw off the things that hinder and the sin…” Is the first step before anyone can run or focus on Jesus. Part of the problem is the greatest sins and hindrances to the believer are all claimed to be godly, and the Bible is twisted either in translation or exposition to make it all appear godly. I’ve written a free PDF book that goes through the 4 passages that are twisted to teach “the right to be paid” by Pastors and expose the errors. Then I go through the 10 passages that clergy use these 4 texts to ignore. The 10 teach ministry “free of charge” or always combined with marketplace work. Every hired Pastor or Bible expert think this whole thing is godly. They are all so deceived. Not everything was reformed at the Reformation. Clergyism was left intact, just like the Catholics practice it. Only the titles were changed and the pulpit moved to the middle. It’s all quite shocking for me having been raised by godly parents to think the Pastorate was biblical. Now I realize it’s a scam. The job now is to plant seeds of “the word of God” to clergy and laity for God to “make things grow.”
Paul made it clear that it is okay to be supported financially for doing the work of ministry. But we have taken this to another level entirely that distracts and detracts from the work of the church and creates a new kind of clergy/laity divide that id detrimental to the church body.
Paul made it clear that it is “okay” to be supported to take the message to the message to unbelievers. And even then, he had times where he was ‘self-supporting.’
The “modern” idea of full time preachers (Which “we” now also seem to think should be referred to as ‘pastor’) does not exist in the early Church.
The responsibility to instruct, build up, encourage one another is given to all – not a single individual.
ELDERS are expected to teach (there is a reason that an elder MUST able to teach and even paid ‘especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.’) And the “must” is not ‘should,’ ‘ought to,’ ‘would be great if.’ It is not optional.
But we have the professionals taking over the role of the elders in so many ways that ‘members’ see him as “The” leader of the congregation rather than the elders…
Anyway, Matt, we have covered this before 😉