“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)
One hero of the faith from the 19th century was Charles Spurgeon. It’s noteworthy to remember what God used to capture his soul to live wholly for Christ… He was caught in a terrible snowstorm and ducked into a small church. The sermon he heard was not eloquent but it was a simple message from Isaiah 45:22 that stressed an imperative verb: look, “Look unto me, and be ye saved…” Spergeon was held captive by the thought, “anyone can look.” The Spirit caused that word to carry weight on his soul and it changed Spergeon’s life that day.
Life may seem impossible for us at times; yet as Christ-followers we can endure any obstacle if we simply look to Jesus. One of the most difficult things a woman is called to do is to labor and give birth to a child. When it was time for my youngest to be born, I kept repeating Hebrews 12:2 to myself out loud during labor as I strived to set my focus not on the immediate pain, but on the baby that I’d soon embrace. While I did this, I was reminded of Jesus agonizing pain on the cross that he bore for the forgiveness of sins to all who would look to Him and be saved. Whatever pain and suffering we may face in our lifetime, it is nothing compared with what Christ suffered on the cross. As we face challenging tasks, may we us look to Jesus as our ultimate example, and see Christ’s glory as our highest reward.
If we, by faith, look ahead at what God is accomplishing through our sweat and tears we will be encouragement to press on and not give up. While, we may not like the labor, God is birthing a beautiful unshaken faith that makes it all worth it. Heaven is already ours if we have placed our faith in Christ. Yet, our ambition for God’s glory carries us while we wait… “We run for the same prize Jesus ran for, and we achieve it in the same way He did. We run for the joy of exaltation God promises will be ours if we glorify Him on earth as His Son did. We glorify God by allowing His attributes to shine through us and by obeying His will in everything we do.” MacArthur
What or who do we look to as an example changes everything. Some may look up to celebrities, politicians or successful athletes. Others may look to preachers, authors or famous theologians. In Hebrews, we get a wonderful list of many heroes of the faith that we should aspire to emulate. However, if we have studied their lives we know that none of them was perfect. Yet One is perfect and simultaneously is the perfector of our faith—that is Jesus! Christ gave us the greatest example as He poured himself out on the cross as an offering of obedience to God. Christ faced the worst suffering not only physically for the punishment our sins deserve; but spiritually while being rejected by God the Father in our place, that He could look at us and see Jesus’ and embrace us as his own children.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are Holy and Sovereign. You are an awesome Savior and promise to make our yoke light if we look to Jesus. Forgive us when we take our eyes off Christ and get distracted. Thank you that Jesus endured the worst suffering and left us an example to follow; and that we never will be forsaken by you because Christ was. Enable us to consistently run with endurance the race you have set for us and be encouraged not only by others who have gone before us, but most powerfully by the One and Only who died on the cross despised its shame and endured to be at your right hard. May our sin not keep us down, but may we be winged by faith and grace-empowered obedience. May our faith never for a moment waiver; that we would obey, love and exalt you and receive crowns of righteousness for your name’s sake Lord and your glory. Be honored in our short life here on earth. In the mighty name of Jesus.