Week 9 Day 2
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
The great cloud of witnesses, the men and women who have gone before us, have demonstrated that a life of direction does not have to be a life of perfection in order to finish well. Their examples are instructive, helpful, and important, but they are not near enough. For one thing, since their examples are imperfect, we cannot make their lives the focus of our lives. The same is true for living “heroes.” There are men and woman alive today who can teach us much about a life of faith. The work of God in their lives encourages, challenges, and motivates us. But we cannot make their lives the focus of our lives. If you lived for a period of time with any “great Christian” past or present, it is very likely you would be surprised and possibly disappointed. But only if you think someone out there is living a life of faith perfectly. It is not necessary or advisable to become cynical about the possibility of learning from men and women who have experience with God. Their imperfection does not mean they don’t have much to teach us. So we must not become hero worshippers or cynics, but we do need a focal point for this life of faith. That focal point is Jesus. We are to be aware of the cloud of witnesses, but we are to fix our gaze fully on Jesus. We are to learn from others, but we are to make Jesus the focus of our lives. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. From beginning to end, he remains our point of focus. He did not fail or falter. He endured great suffering because he had great perspective. He is not a dead example; he is a living, active, involved example. We do not have to just look to the written gospels to learn from him, as vitally important as that is. We can look to him day-to-day because he is alive. Close the gap on your faith today by looking at your circumstances through the eyes of Jesus. How would he act if he were you? How does he want you to act? He is with you.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.