Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
If you have ever run a race, then you know that focus is key. If a runner is focused on the people in the crowd, he becomes distracted. If he focuses on his feet, he becomes distracted. He has to focus on the finish line and the prize. The same thing is true in the Christian life. Hebrews 12:2-3 says, “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.” If we are going to win in the Christian life, we have to redirect our focus.
But here is the problem: We do not know where the finish line is, do we? We do not know if the finish line is twenty years from now or twenty days from now. So how can we redirect our focus on the finish line?
Steve Farrar makes a great analogy in his book “Finishing Strong”: “A friend of mine used to row in the Oxford crew. You’ve seen those long, sleek, beautiful shells, filled with sweating and straining men, whose movements are so amazingly synchronized as they pull those long oars through the water. Those men have their backs to the finish line! . . . If they can’t see the finish line and focus upon it, then how in the world can they row an effective race? The answer is that they focus on the coxswain. He’s the guy with the megaphone sitting at the end of the boat facing the crew. He’s the only one who knows where the finish line is. So the men at the oars look to him, listen to him, obey his commands, and count on him to coach them to the finish. He paces them, he encourages them, and they trust him implicitly to get them across the finish line.”
That is the imagery here. No, we cannot see the finish line, but instead we are to focus on “Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (v. 2). That word translated “author” can mean “trailblazer,” but it really means “example.” When you get fatigued, when you get discouraged, when you think, “I cannot make it any longer,” remember Jesus, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross” (v. 2). There was nothing joyous about going to the cross. But Jesus marched to the cross triumphantly because He looked beyond it and saw the prize that God had for Him. The Bible says if we are going to endure this Christian life, we need to focus on the trailblazer, Jesus, who has gone on ahead of us. We need to follow His example until the very end.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Spiritual Aerobics” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Steve Farrar, “Finishing Strong: Going the Distance for Your Family” (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2000), 30.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org