Hebrews 12:1-4 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
“Looking unto Jesus”. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your eyes on the cross. Be “cross-eyed”. When we want to draw attention to something, we say “Look” at me - or this or that. We want the person's eyes to focus on what we are pointing out. This is what Paul is saying to the Hebrews. He is saying, “Quit looking at your circumstances. Stop focusing your attention on what is going on around you. Stop letting the suffering you are enduring get your attention off of Jesus.” Look at Jesus (Mic 7:7)! Focus on Jesus! Don't stop looking up! Look to Jesus for salvation (Heb 9:28, Isa 45:22). Look to Jesus, your blessed hope (Titus 2:13). Look to Jesus for mercy (Jude 1:21). Look to heaven (Philp 3:20). Whatever we focus on tends to get bigger. Are you focused on the problem? It will get bigger in your life. It will tend to dominate your life. Are you focused on Jesus? He will get bigger in your life. You must do the looking. No one can do it for you. No one can make you focus. You must discipline yourself to do it, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Author means beginner, captain, chief leader, pioneer.
Finisher means perfecter, completer, consummater. In other words, Jesus starts and finishes. He is the Alpha and Omega. The first and the last. The beginning and the end. Jesus starts the good work in you, and perfects it until His return (Philp 1:6). He establishes you until the end (1Cor 1:8). He perfects that which concerns you (Psa 138:8). He performs all things for you (Psa 57:2). He calls you, and He does His work through you (1Thess 5:24). He performs the thing appointed for you (Job 23:14). The same faith we must put in Jesus to be saved, is the same faith that must sustain us and bring us to the end. Often Christians start out with full confidence and assurance in Christ. However, before too long, they are trying to do things in their own strength and power. They are trusting in their ability or wisdom. They quit looking to Jesus, and start looking to themselves. When you get saved, that is not the time to stop looking unto Jesus! That is when you really start! We must look unto Jesus our entire Christian life. Until the day we die, or get taken up to heaven, we must be constantly looking unto The Lord.
1Pt 5:10 says, “.... After you have suffered a while, you will be perfect, established, strengthened, and settled.” This life is very short. It is a vapor (Jam 4:14). It is as quick as a blink, compared to eternity. Whatever suffering you are going through, keep your eyes on Jesus. Paul constantly kept his eyes on Jesus. That is why he could say what he did in Romans 8:18 and in 2Cor 4:17. You cannot make these kinds of statements (and mean them), and have your focus on the natural.
Have you counted the cost? Biblical Christianity is no cake walk. Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ will cost you. There will be trials and tribulations – that is guaranteed. When you sign up in The Lord's Army, the shootin' begins immediately. Our Brothers and Sisters in many foreign countries know this all too well. We need to know it also. I believe a level of persecution that we have not experienced before in this nation is coming – and in some ways is already here. Will you compromise your allegiance to Jesus Christ? Will you bow to the politically correct machine? I pray you will study Hebrews thoroughly, to prepare yourself. I also thank God for the many Scriptures He has given us on how to handle persecution, and how to be overcomers (Mt 5:11-12, Acts 5:41, 16:25, Rom 8:17, 2Cor 1:7, 12:10, Philp 2:17, Col 1:24, 2Tim 2:12, Jam 1:2-3, 12, 1Pt 3:14, 1Pt 4:1, 12-16, Rev 1:9).
Don't stop. Don't quit. Don't turn back. Don't give up. Don't give in. Don't compromise. Read The Bible every day. Be a student of Scripture. Pray without ceasing. Love the brotherhood. Do not forsake assembling together with other Believers. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your eyes on the prize. Keep your eyes on eternity. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!