Dear Friends and Members of Faith Lutheran,

The apostle Paul “implored” the Corinthians to “be reconciled to God” (1 Co 5:20) – to be brought at peace with him. I “implore” (literally “beg”) you to do the same through weekly devotions that I want to write for us now. Read them with your families starting with this week. Then there will be about six more devotions coming. I won’t let you forget.

Next week Thursday (Sep. 17th) I will send you our next devotion via email. To ensure you receive it, you can expect it to arrive in your home mailbox the following Monday or Tuesday, I’d imagine!

I pray these devotions are a blessing to you as you hear God’s Word cut you to the heart with the Law and perfectly mend it with the pure Gospel about Jesus! We will call this series of devotions “Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus.”

This week’s devotion is based on Hebrews 12:1-3.

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, 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Have you ever thrown something off of yourself? Maybe a sweatshirt or your brother or sister. Paul says, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Picture a runner in a marathon who is wearing an ancient tunic. You know, those robe-looking things? Imagine how much a tunic would hinder and entangle a runner! Runners try to get rid of that extra clothing as much as possible so that they can run! But they still need perseverance. Paul said, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” A runner still battles the heat on his back, the wind in his face, and the sweat in his eyes. He can’t give up. He needs perseverance.

Paul is using this illustration of running a race to teach us about our faith because in the previous chapter of Hebrews he had been talking all about faith! Like running in a race is difficult, so also trusting in Jesus is difficult. Following his commands is difficult. But it is even more difficult when we let sin hinder and entangle us like a tunic would entangle a runner. So, what is the sin in your life that you need to throw out of your life? And if you do throw your sin off, there is no guarantee that it will be easy to follow Jesus’ commands. You will still need perseverance.

So, where do you find both the ability to throw sin out of your life and to persevere in your faith? You find it in Jesus. Let us fix “our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

A pioneer is someone who goes ahead before anyone else. Jesus went ahead of us to the cross. He endured the agony of it, but it gave him joy. He knew that at the end of his agony he would sit down “at the right hand of the throne of God.” Why did he do it? For you “so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

When I think of a weary person, who has lost heart, I think of someone who looks sad. They have no confidence of the future. They are giving up. If you are starting to feel like giving up in certain aspects of your faith, then fix your eyes on Jesus. In fact, the Greek word Paul uses is in the present tense. So, that means he wants us to keep on fixing our eyes on Jesus. Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Fix your eyes on Jesus!

Amen.

-Pastor Spaude

 

Hymn 405 verse 6,

Lord, give us such as faith as this,

            And then, whate’er may come,

We’ll taste e’en now the hallowed bliss

            Of an eternal home.

 

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I am so glad that you suffered and rose for me. Now you sit in heaven. This gives me perseverance to throw off the sin in my life and to keep trusting in you and living for you. Help me to be joyful as I endure Christian suffering. I look forward to being with you when my race of faith is done. Amen.