Considering Jesus Challenge
We’ve Been Framed!
Day 17, January 17, 2013, Thursday
“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3
Everything has a context. History has a context, media stories have a context, and my life has a context. So does yours. Context is important. Pinning it down, however, can get eely. Some of us are minutia people. We can be so focused on the finer details of life that we are easily distracted by the trees and never see the forest. Others of us are big picture people who see only the forest in its grandeur and miss an “insignificant” pine beetle chewing through the trees below. By the time the destruction becomes evident, the big picture person has already moved on to something else so offers no solution to the devastation left behind.
Does it have to be either/or? Americans in particular are either/or people. Something is right or it’s wrong, black or white, hot or cold, loved or hated. “Both/and” options are rarely considered, but in this case they should be. Paying attention to details that could prevent the pine beetle from eating the forest is a great way to combine the minutia-focused person with the big picture person. Aerial surveillance of the forest that reveals the beetle’s destruction allows the big picture person to contribute the advanced warning necessary to the detail-oriented person so they can both protect and rescue the forest.
They need each other; the minutia person and the big picture person – not either/or, but both/and. Both/and people meet within the framework of context. Each of our lives is displayed in a context that is set by our families, parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, and other significant people who have influenced our lives.
So, what does all of this discussion about context have to do with Hebrews 12:3?
The idea of understanding context has been slowly creeping up to the edges of my mind ever since we started this month-long challenge. It’s been hovering just beyond my ability to clearly define it and embrace it. The difficulty for me has been that if I focus on the big picture of my life without understanding the context of my life, I may create grandiose goals for myself, but will they serve God’s plan for me? Will they be meaningful? If, on the other hand, I focus only on the here and now, will I miss out on opportunities God has arranged for me because my focus is too limited?
The key to displaying the beautiful picture that is my life is to understand its context (warts and all!). Whatever I’m going through right now is set into the framework of God’s plan for my entire life, not just for this moment. Scripture is that way too. We can’t understand Hebrews 12:3 without backing up to take a look at its context. So, this morning I read the first three verses for the bigger picture.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 a 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.” Hebrews 12:1-3
The end result of Hebrews 12:3 (our challenge verse for today) is that we won’t grow weary and lose heart.
So, how’s it going? Are you engaged and enthusiastic about your life, or have you become weary and discouraged?
If you’ve become weary and discouraged, where is the way out? I don’t know completely, but one component needed for our escape is to understand the larger context of our lives. The first three verses of Hebrews say that our lives are set into the context of all the believers who have gone before. Those believers are cheering us on from eternity. They’ve already run their race and now they serve to motivate and encourage me when I get tired.
Then, the writer gives us 5 definitive things to do that will keep us from growing weary and discouraged. I find them very practical:
- Lay aside every encumbrance
- Lay aside sin
- Run with endurance
- Fix our eyes on Jesus
- Consider Jesus
We’ve been “considering Jesus” all month now. For those of you who may have felt weary at the beginning of the year, I hope you’re starting to sense new energy as you focus every day on Jesus. Whether we’re walking through a season of grief or, just tired from the journey of life, Hebrews 12:1-3 gives us the way through the deep water.
Others have gone before us and have faced much more catastrophic trials that we ever will. Those witnesses have triumphed, and Jesus wants you to triumph too. Look at the framework of your life, pray through it today and see if Jesus wants to show you something new, something surprising. I do know that Jesus chose that “frame” specifically for you so that the beauty of your life can be on magnificent display for the rest of us to enjoy!
Considering Jesus Challenge Passage for Tomorrow January 18, 2013:
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:21-25
© Copyright, 2013 by Donna Tallman.