“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 NIV
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is often called the “Hall of Faith”. It tells the stories of those who served God with great passion and unflinching faithfulness through the toughest of times. They suffered, risked, obeyed and trusted God to do what only He can do.
This verse says that their lives, their testimonies of how to trust God are like having a great grandstand of faith leaders cheering you on as you follow Jesus. What are they telling you? They are telling you to throw off everything that hinders and run the race God has called you to run.
Not your mom’s race or your neighbor’s faith race but your faith race.
They are telling you to keep focused on the finish line and lay down whatever is weighing you down from getting there: other people’s opinions, irrational fears, fear-laden doubts, time-wasting worries.
They know that a life of faith isn’t easy.
And that the only way you can do it is by keeping your eyes on Jesus.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, my friend, take a deep breath and run your race.
Love does. Perfect love from a sinless Savior who sacrificed Himself so that you could live unhindered by fear and wholly in His love.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
1 John 4:18 NIV
Jesus came to the earth He created for one thing: to perfect love. The word perfect here doesn’t mean flawless, it means complete…completed completeness.
A love that bleeds when the lash tore open His back and the splintered wood of the cross dug into it.
A love that persevered through the unendurable physical and spiritual pain of the cross until He could utter the truth, “it is finished”.
This love has been made completely complete. The debt of sin has been paid and the great chasm between God and man has been crossed.
When fear rises up to dismantle your faith or weave it’s tentacles around your feet to trip you up, You must remember this fact: You have nothing to fear.
Christ took your punishment completely so that you could let His love complete you. It is perfect love and in it, you are made whole.
Jesus walked the earth, spoke truth to all who would listen, healed broken bodies and restored broken souls to God. It was His love that breathed life into the first lungs of man and His word that drove the darkness and chaos back before that and it is His love that sets you free to love as freely and completely as you are loved.
What drives fear out?
The love of Jesus.
Hang your hat on it and get down to the business of loving others with the confident abandon that comes with it.
“He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3:21-24 MSG)
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4 NIV)
“Love never gives up”.
1 Corinthians 13:4 MSG
So much can be communicated through a small touch.
A reassuring pat of the hand.
A gentle tug on the elbow of someone who you want closer.
Holding a hand.
A small touch can make a bad thing okay, an okay thing good and make a good thing great.
Small touches are difference makers in a relationship, in a life.
They can be the first thing we unconsciously give and the first thing that we unconsciously withhold.
When we struggle, we when are angry, when we are hurt, we withhold the small touches.
It’s easy to forget how important they are to us and to those we love.
Wherever you are at in any of your relationships it might be a small touch that makes a difference.
Don’t worry about starting big- start small.
What small touch do you need to receive?
What small touch do you need to give?
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:4 NIV
God doesn’t want you to have a life that looks good. He wants you to have a life that is good.
That means facing the challenges, sticking it out thru the hard stuff to learn the hard lessons.
The hard lessons are the ones that give us the truths (and strength) to live a good life.
Your identity is in Christ, not a title, a position or job.
Your worth is who you are, not what you have (or don’t have).
You are loved completely, endlessly and for all eternity because you have been embraced by God.
You were made for more than just an easy life.
You have been made to live a God ordained, Christ centered, Holy Spirit powered good life.
Push through the hard stuff to get to the good stuff, to the peace that passes understanding and the faith that does not depend on circumstances.
I know it is hard.
With Jesus, you can do the hard stuff.