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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
Read: Hebrews 11:32 – 12:3
Consider: The writer of Hebrews has given us many examples of faith in action, yet he is aware that he has only scratched the surface of those who are commended for their faith. Hebrews 11 continues: And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawn in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and ill-treated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect (Hebrews 11:32-40).
As we read the Bible we will see many different examples of faith in action – some dramatic, yet others gentle. These examples are given to us to encourage us in our daily walk with God. As Hebrews 12:1-2 puts it: 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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Encouragement can come from other Christians who over the years have exemplified faith in action. That is why it is worthwhile reading the biographies or autobiographies of those who have lived before us, whose lives have been a witness for Christ. Also we should take encouragement from Christians we know in our churches or home groups whose lives are, or have been, shining examples of faith in action.
Pray: Father, we thank you for the encouragement we get from seeing people’s lives exemplify faith in action. May we keep our eyes on Jesus and run the race set before us with perseverance. Amen