Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
If you’ve been around Cross Points at all this month, you’ve no doubt bumped into one word repeatedly: GROW.
Grow. I suppose, in some sense, it’s just another word for discipleship. It goes down easier; it’s more easily appropriated. But it carries with it the force of that familiar (if slightly more challenging) word: discipleship.
Christian discipleship – that process of being transformed more and more into the image of His Son. Following Christ such that we become more and more like Christ. Conforming more and more to Christ and less and less to sin. Walking less and less in the works of the flesh and more and more in the fruit of the Spirit. Or, you might say, growing.
The book of Hebrews, among other things, is an invitation to persevere in growing – to walk this journey of discipleship…for the long haul. Or, as Pastor David challenged us Sunday, to grow strong.
Weight. Sins that litter the path and trip the traveler. Weariness and fatigue. The writer of Hebrews admits all of these dangers of the road. And what is his counsel to the pilgrim on the this path? How can the follower of Jesus persevere – endure – grow strong? Keep your eyes on Jesus (v 2). Consider Him (v 3 – ESV).
And this, I think, is one of the motivations behind this time of prayer and fasting at Cross Points. Behind the motivation to pray bold prayers. Behind the motivation to lean into a word for this coming year.
All of this drives us back to our dependence on Him – refocuses our attention on Jesus.
Fasting reminds me that Jesus is my source and sustenance. Bold prayers remind me that I am not my own savior, that I depend on the intervention of One who is greater. Leaning in to a word for this year reminds me that I do not have the last word, but I listen for the voice of Another. All responses to the invitation in Hebrews: Consider Him.
I look at Him. Over and over again, I look at Him. I look at the One who saved me…and remember He’s also the One who’s growing me (v 2). And when I look at Him, over and over again, Hebrews tells me that I won’t grow weary…I’ll grow strong. I’ll go long in this journey of discipleship.
If you haven’t already, let me challenge and invite you to take some time this week to consider Him. Join us at the church for our noon times of prayer and fasting. Pray a bold prayer. Pause for a moment and listen for God’s voice.