On Good Friday I had the opportunity to speak at the M.O.P.S. group that meets at The Nazarene Church in Clovis. This is a little bit of what I shared that day and thought I would share with you!

                                                 Faith-Focus-Future

Hebrews 12:1-3 12 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.

Have Faith- Keep Focus-Look to the Future

Faith-Trust

*strong belief or trust in someone or something

*allegiance to duty or a person

*firm belief in something for which there is no proof, complete trust

Let’s talk about faith. Faith is something we claim to have plenty of until it is tested.

“Just have faith.”

Have you heard that from some well-meaning person when you are in a storm of difficulty? Like faith is this easily obtained virtue or attitude that we can possess by simply thinking positive, avoiding negative “energy” and surrounding yourself only with positive people; or perhaps by putting the word in our homes as a decoration.

How is your faith in difficulty? How is your faith when God tells you no? How is your faith when someone confesses that they have sinned against you? How is your faith when you miscarry? How is your faith when there is an unexpected diagnosis? When you lose a job, don’t get promoted, your child decides they hate you or God?

Difficulty reveals our focus and intentions. Having faith doesn’t prevent difficulty but it helps see you through the difficulty.

Has anybody figured out by now that this is hard? Life, marriage, parenting, working? It is literally like one valley after another. Valleys of life are dark, wet and cold. And, that is where we will spend most of our time. How do we make it through?

Faith. Have faith and keep focused. Faith is something God in His grace provides and we can encourage that faith in our lives by our focus.

Focus and look to the future!

“For the joy set before him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.”

I am not here to tell you how to avoid the hard but how to make it through the hard. What is your focus? Are you focused on you and your circumstances?

“I can’t believe this is so hard. Once I get past this… Why did this happen to me? Why am I being treated this way? Why my marriage, my family, my kids?”

So, what is your focus? If the entirety of our focus is on the temporal few years spent here on earth, we can become very distracted. What is our focus?

We are so focused on the here and now and Jesus is like, “what about eternity?” Why would I spend this little breath trying to make myself as comfortable as possible, enjoy myself as much as I can?

Don’t lose focus! Like Paul, I want to live my life on mission and invest my life for that moment I cross that finish line and see His face.

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”

Looking to the future, what is ahead. What you have to look forward to gives you the faith you need to set aside the difficulty in comparison to the joy that lay before us.

Keep your eyes on the finish line, straining forward.

This is what we must do. Look to Jesus and the joy set before us. This life isn’t all there is.

That is what the heroes of faith did before and also what our savior did. They had faith and focus on the future. Remember what it said at the beginning of that passage? Let’s read it again.

12 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.

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. had faith. Abraham was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder was God.

Hebrews 11:13-14 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

Jesus, the one and only son of God, left the perfection of heaven to live and experience everything we experience. Every joy, hurt, sadness, and temptation; yet, was without sin.

Ultimately, he went to the cross to die in our place for our sins. Let’s not forget he was fully man. Now, how did he cope? One more time, Hebrews 12:2 For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shameAnd sat down at the right hand of God.

He scorned the shame of the cross. Look at what that means.

Scorn

  1. noun- the feeling or belief that something is worthless or despicable; contempt.
  2. Verb- feel or express contemp or derision for

We don’t have to like our circumstances but we must endure them. Jesus knew what awaited Him and did not allow the momentary troubles to dissuade him from his purpose and obedience to His calling.

Let us endure. When things hurt, say, “for the joy set before me.” When we descend into yet another valley, another difficulty, say, “I can endure for the joy set before me.” When your toddler makes another mess, endure for the joy set before you. When that teenager talks back AGAIN, endure for the joy set before me.

You can endure.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Take heart, have faith and keep focus!

~Megan~