Paul wrote, looking unto JESUS, the AUTHOR AND FINISHER of our FAITH, who for the joy that was set before HIM endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of GOD (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)
After Paul defined what FAITH is in Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV; Paul went on to teach us how everyone in the Old Testament demonstrated their FAITH in GOD throughout the rest of the chapter (Hebrews 11:4-40 NKJV). Paul wrote, By FAITH Abel, By FAITH Enoch, By FAITH Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab;
Who through FAITH subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (Heb. 11:33-34 NKJV)
Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection (Hebrews 11:35 NKJV)
Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, and were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goat skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented (Hebrews 11:36-37 NKJV)
Of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through FAITH, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us (Hebrews 11:38-40 NKJV)
Understanding Different Circumstances of FAITH
I could not write the entire chapter 11, in one article. I high-lighted the Characters and some more explanation that Paul shared to zero in and narrow down the point of FAITH being the Supernatural Muscle that motivates us to BELIEVE, despite the trials and tribulations that we may encounter on earth.
When we read this list and the Testimonies of the Saints that went through all this drama, we may questioned whether we should consider being Christians, after all it sounds like hell on earth if we become a devoted Believer. This is where Paul continued in chapter 12 and wrote;
Therefore, we also (Christians Today), since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Heb. 12:1 NKJV)
Looking onto JESUS, the AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH (Heb.12:2 NKJV)
I purposely stop mid verse to highlight that we cannot accomplish anything that the Old Testament Saints encountered, or apply Hebrews 12, verse 1, laying aside every weight, and sin, or run with endurance on our own. Jesus said it clearly in John 15:5 NKJV; without HIM we can do nothing. This is why Paul said to LOOK at JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH.
We must continue to LOOK TO JESUS to empower us with GRACE AND FAITH to move forward so we may remain in the FAITH of GOD to accomplish the Divine Will of GOD on earth (Hebrews 4:13-16 NKJV)
If we desire to live BY FAITH, we need to consider Hebrews chapter 11, as a point of reference when we are going thru hell on earth. Because if these Old Testament Saints endured the hardships in their lives BY FAITH so can we TODAY. In America USA, we are not going thru the type of hell on earth that the Middle East is going through. Yes, those who chose to live and ride out their lives in Tornado Valley Zones, or Hurricane Zones, Fire Zones and Mud-slide Zones where constant destruction is barreling down every year—yet, FAITH is what is keeping you there. JESUS who brought you into this world through your Parents—has given you a MEASURE OF FAITH to deal with the circumstances that you are currently dealing with.
A bad break-up, a bad day, a rough financial year, persecution by your co-workers, neighbors, classmates, gossip by those who you thought would keep a secret, betrayal by a so-called friend are just some of the things we will experience at some points in our lives. But we have to LOOK TO JESUS—who experienced difficult people. HE was betrayed by HIS disciple Judas. HE was gossiped about by the religious order of the day. HE was abandon when arrested by HIS other disciples. HE was hated by HIS own brothers. Although HE tried to reach everybody and desired to bless everybody—HE was rejected.
This is why we must consider OUR LORD AND SAVIOR as the AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH.
When did we stop BELIEVING? Where was it that we lost hope? When did we stop reading the Word of God? When did we stop going to Church Services? Was it when they said something you didn’t like? Was it a sister or a so-called brother in the Lord that offended you, and you said, “I’m not going to Church anymore?” Is it that a tragedy took place and you had to move and starting over and its difficult and going to Church is last on the list-to-do? I’m not saying it’s easy! I’m not here to place added pressure on you to be a goody-to-shoe Christians.
Paul said, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH (Heb. 12:1-2 NKJV)
When I read this and the Holy Spirit brought this verse alive to me. THE TEACHER reminded me of something. HE said, a distant runner doesn’t run at full speed there’s a pace that they have learned to run in to run a Marathon. When they go up hill the pace is slowed down, when they run on a plain its back to the normal pace, when they run downhill they may speed up a bit because of gravity. However, this is also true for the Christian. We may be hungry for God then we slow down, then we get back in normal pace, then speed up again serving God more passionately. At times you may wonder if you are serving God at all—with all the cares in this life that draw our attention away from doing Spiritual things like Reading, Meditating, Fasting and attending Church Services.
I remember when I started College I had very little time for God. As I used too. I thought I would never get back to full fellowship as I used experience. However, Paul wrote, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that HE (JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT TOGETHER) who begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of JESUS CHRIST; (Philippians 1:5-6 NKJV).
So even if our fellowship with God seems too slow down and we don’t hear from HIM in the sense that we used too or be passionately driven as we used too, GOD is still working the kinks out of us and rebuilding OUR FAITH IN HIM CONSTANTLY through what we are encountering in this life. HE IS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH, Amen. Let’s continue to LOOK AT JESUS.