We’ve seen a bunch of principles from the book of Hebrews on the topic of suffering. I got to preach the final message in the series. (If you wish, you can access that message here):
I’ve been challenged by the principle that the Lord Jesus suffered the worst life can bring — Death! (2:9). How dare I ever feel that Jesus can’t understand my suffering? We’ve seen that God used suffering to perfect the Pioneer of our salvation (2:10), so how dare I resist His using suffering to perfect me? In principle #3 we saw that remembering our suffering brings believers together to support and encourage each other. How dare I waste my suffering by forgetting the past or by not standing with those suffering in the present?
We also saw the principle that experiencing loss focuses our longing on the next life’s better and lasting possessions! (10:34). “How dare I allow myself to be captivated by this world’s stuff?!” A fifth principle was that suffering loss in this world should not dampen our confidence in the rich rewards of the next world! (10:35). The question we asked ourselves was: How dare I act like a pagan and give all my attention to
this world and its things?! In our last post we saw the principle that Persevering in this life and doing the will of God will bring the pleasure of God and full salvation! (10:36-39). How dare I give up, shrink back, and not live by faith in the One coming back for me?!
Our final principle comes out of Hebrews 12 and is simply this: Principle #7: Making the Lord Jesus Christ my model motivates my choices, increases my endurance, and joyfully sharpens my vision for what really counts in this life! (12:1-4) There we read, “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 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he 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 sinners, 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.” The “How Dare I?” question is: How dare I live my life as it were my own, stand on the spiritual sidelines, and not fight sin with every once of strength that He gives me?! Are you fighting sin? I love this quote from the professional baseball player-turned preacher, Billy Sunday:
“Listen, I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist, I’ve butt it as long as I’ve got a head, and I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old, fistless, footless, and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to glory and it goes home to perdition.”
― Billy Sunday