Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Hebrews 11:29–12:2 (NRSV)
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.
And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
This passage reminds us of several faithful followers of Christ. Their lives were not easy; they suffered at the hands of non-believers. Yet, this passage assures us that the life of this world is not our reward. We have a much greater reward waiting for us in heaven because of our salvation. In whatever place we are today, we are to “run the race set before us” and we are to do it with Jesus as our guide and with faith as our motivator.
Who are your present-day faithful followers of Christ? Is it a friend who has lost a child, yet continues to glorify God? A co-worker whose marriage is ending in divorce, but continues to pray for her spouse? A loved one suffering from a terminal illness who continues in daily praise? I am blessed to have these faithful believers in my life. Each day they are a living role model for me. We need these people in our lives to remind us of our faithfulness to the One who saves us from our sins and provides us with the promise of eternal life. Wherever you are today, whatever you may be going through—stay faithful to and live your life as a reflection of the One who loves you.
God, thank you for providing faithful followers as role models. Help us to look toward you as we face uncertain circumstances. Amen.
Go with God.