During this pandemic, believers have a great opportunity to brag about Christ. God has given His children the greatest message that needs telling over and over and over to a world that is dying away. Unfortunately, we can’t lead others to Jesus when we, ourselves, are not walking in the ways of the Lord, and we see this happening in the Church.
God calls His children to live His way.
In Hebrews 12, God reveals how believers are to live so that unbelievers will want to look at God after they have shared God’s message with them in word and deed. Our actions precede our words when it comes to faith in God. It matters how you live your life, then when you speak of Christ, someone will be more apt to listen.
Go ahead and read chapter 12 and let’s see how you and I can better ourselves by walking more obediently with God every day.
A believer’s goal is to walk obediently by listening to the Holy Spirit and doing what He says.
Verse 1a describes why we have great opportunity to show the world God’s amazing love through His Son. There is a huge crowd of witnesses watching those who call themselves Christians. Christians are the eternal light that leads people to faith in God. Something goes awry, though, when believers act religiously as well as worldly. Look at 1 John 2:15-17 to see what I am talking about, as well as 1 Kings 18:21, Isaiah 29:13, and Matthew 6:24.
What do you need to do so others can see Christ in you more clearly, see verse 1b? What sin(s) trip you up where you lose your focus and your testimony?
God calls you to run with endurance the race that God has set before you, see 1c. How do you live this way, see verse 2? From this verse, what does Jesus do for you? Jesus is the perfect example for you to follow. He remained sinless in a very sinful world. He did this for one reason, to save every person from heading to hell. What else do you learn about Jesus from verses 2-4 that show the ultimate sacrifice of love? Jesus kept in the forefront of His mind the joy that was awaiting Him when He returned to heaven. You and I are called to live this same way.
Another aspect of walking obediently with Christ is God will discipline you. It’s a hard reality that your flesh will balk at. Human nature is very self-centered, and God needs to do some open-heart surgery and remove those “weights” that will slow you down and trip you up, see verse 1. God is helping you to become more like His Son and He is preparing you for His joyful Kingdom.
So, what is a true believer to do when God is disciplining you, see verses 5-11? How are these verses encouraging to you? Reread verse 10. You may not have had a great earthly father, in fact, he may have hurt you in ways that would seem unforgiveable. I want you to know that you have a heavenly Father who would never hurt you! Go to Him, and He will heal your broken heart. He will become the Father that you need. No one has perfect earthly parents, and you are not a perfect parent if you have children. This is why everyone needs Jesus.
God remains trustworthy when He is correcting you. While painful, a believer reaps a peaceful harvest of right living when he allows God to train him in His ways.
What should you do that will help you to run the race with endurance, see verses 12-13? How does one mark out a straight path for his feet? Check out Proverbs 3:5-6 and 4:26-27 for added insight.
Faith is work. In fact, it’s a lot of work! In verse 14, it takes work to living in peace. If only people could grasp this truth. It takes work at living holy. Your flesh will balk at holy living. What other kind of work does God want from His children, see verses 15-17? Do you look after other believers, making sure their faiths are vibrant and strong, or are you too busy with your own schedule and plans? A sad reality is that people have become so individualistic, especially Americans, that no one is looking out for their neighbors.
“Oh God, help us to see the errors of our ways!”
For added insight in the story of Esau (see verses 16-17), read Genesis 27. You can also learn more about Esau and his brother Jacob in my book, “God Hears My Heart,” pages 80-82. Esau made the grave mistake of prioritizing a physical need over a spiritual one. He responded to his physical senses instead of to spiritual truth. Beware my friend that you don’t make the same easy mistake.
In verses 18-21, you read about what life was like in the Old Testament when God called Moses to lead His people. People were afraid of God for they saw His mighty power firsthand, but now because of Jesus Christ, believers can stand before God in a joyful manner. My friend, this is a big deal.
When Jesus died for every man’s sins upon the cross, then resurrected from the dead, Christ made it possible for you and I to stand before the Living God, acquitted from all sin (past, present, and future)! What are angels doing because of this, see verse 22? What is the repeated phrase in verses 23-24 that hopefully will help you to deepen your walk in Christ?
You have come. You have come to God Himself. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones who have been made perfect. You have come to Jesus. What does Jesus do for you, see verse 24?
Do these truths break your heart for Christ? Does studying this passage cause you to make changes in how you are living? If not, my friend, you are entangled by the devil. Only the blood of Christ can cut the noose that is around your neck. Please look up and allow God to cleanse you from your unrighteousness. Awaken to the lures set before you by someone who wants to see your demise.
“Be careful that you do not refuse to listen the One who is speaking.”25
What warning is given to believers in verse 25? What promise is given in verse 26? What does this promise mean, see verse 27?
Believers have an important job. Let’s not take it lightly. For you are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, see verse 28. How are you to act? Why should you act accordingly, see verse 29? Not only is God a devouring fire, but in Deuteronomy 4:24, He is also a jealous God. God does not want to share you with the world. You are His child that He loves you dearly. He will give you a peaceful harvest that will transcend into eternity. Put in the work today, and watch Him grow you into a Kingdom builder.