Photography credit to rachellynphotography.com
I started studying, Experiencing the Presence of God by A.W. Tozer several years ago. I bought a specific journal, pen and hi-lighter dedicated to this book. I finished what I had been studying and was digging around in my things and found this book and journal. I opened the book and saw I had completed 12 of the 15 chapters of this book. I had ten pages left to complete the journal. I was so surprised to see that I had abandoned this rich study. I couldn’t for the life of me remember why or when I had walked away from it. I knew I needed to finish this great study of Hebrews. I can see now that I stopped before Hebrews 10:26-27 “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking of judgment and fiery adversaries.” Wow, I suddenly realized why I stopped!
This passage has confused and been misunderstood down through the years. Even though I graduated from seminary I do not consider myself a theologian by any stretch of the imagination. I have a husband who does that for me! He is my walking talking concordance and interpreter of all scripture at the drop of a hat. We could be watching a movie and he is half watching half sleeping and I am half watching half writing. I will say to him, “Honey, Oh, sorry to bother you but where are all the passages on running the race?” He will wake up enough to say, “well, in I Peter … but also mentioned in Ephesians, but you probably are looking for Hebrews 12:1-2.” I write quickly, nod and reply, “Yes, yes I probably am.” His eyes close and he is back to his business. “Thank you.” He smiles.
Sometimes I feel like I have to move past the scriptures that are so loved and familiar in an attempt to dig deeper. I shouldn’t feel guilty that I go back to the scriptures I know so well. I don’t have any idea as to why I put this condition on myself. We put these little rules in place for our lives and aren’t even totally aware we are doing it.
Today two out of the three devotions I was reading were on this passage in Hebrews, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the father.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Incredible! I need this verse everyday in my life, always ever before me. I’m proclaiming this my scripture for the year 2016! So many aspects to these two verses. The encouragement of those heroes of faith from the old testament who endured and have gone before us, these witnesses not of us, but witnesses to the power of their faith in Jesus. They would say, “It’s worth it.” Get rid of all the stuff that weighs you down, the stuff is killing us. Identify the things that burden us, then set aside the sin we struggle with everyday, get up and do the things we are called to do, but keep looking straight at Jesus who is our source and strength, He started this and he will finish it. Through the pain and the cost, He was looking at the results — our salvation, his joy. Then when it was done, He finally sat down with his Father – it’s done! Someday we too will be complete, after we finish the race by faith and endurance. I guess that’s when we get to sit down too! Completed.