Hebrews 12 is our passage for today. Here we find a call to endure in this race called life. The writer calls us not only to endure but to lay aside all that which might weigh us down or entangle us, keeping our eyes on Jesus because He is not only the author of our faith but the one who will cause that faith to be fully developed in us! He also reminds us that a good father who loves his children disciplines his children. How much more will our Heavenly Father discipline us, His sons and daughters. Discipline is for our benefit and it stretches us, matures us so that we can share His holiness leading to peace and right standing with God.
Now we are caught up with the context as we land on our first scripture about grace: Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead. Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness — without it no one will see the Lord. Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many. (Hebrews 12:12-15 HCSB).
Here we are encouraged to strengthen ourself not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Running a race not only requires us to be strong in our physical health but we also must have our minds and emotions in check to be strong and keep going. Whether it is a race, a project at work, working on a hobby, studying, or sharing our faith or testimony; we are much more effective if we are strong physically and mentally clear. Being at peace with those around is a huge asset because when we are not we tend to be unfocused on what we are doing and if resolution isn’t accomplished, bitterness can invade and make things much worse. It is very good idea to keep short accounts and live at peace with those around us showing them the same grace that we have been shown. I say this knowing full well that it is not always an easy task and preaching mostly to myself.
Lastly, we are reminded not to reject the grace of God and then given a promise that we are receiving a kingdom that can not be shaken. His voice shook the earth at that time, but now He has promised, Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also heaven. This expression, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what can be shaken — that is, created things — so that what is not shaken might remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:26-29 HCSB).
Why is this important? Should it strike fear in us? Personally, I believe we are told this because God wants us aware when things get difficult and threaten our ‘normal’ lives shaking us up and making us question life around us; we will quickly turn to Him and lean on His grace. I believe His purpose is so we will not fear when difficult times come but we will seek Him, His wisdom and understanding. When we do this He gives us grace to walk through the circumstance and come out victorious on the other side. I can’t help but think of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were thrown into a fiery furnace in the book of Daniel for not bowing to a golden image of the Babylonian king. The guards who had thrown them into the fire were consumed by the heat from the fire, yet the three Hebrew men were seen walking in the fire with a fourth who was like the Son of God. The three Hebrew men were delivered through the fire and when they came out they was no sign of harm nor did they even carry the smell of smoke. (Daniel 3) Will the outcome always be that dramatic? Maybe, maybe not, but He is able to do exceeding above and beyond anything we can ask or imagine. His grace is sufficient!
May grace and peace be multiplied to you!