How to Forge On for Christ

Posted on December 9, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Inspiring Passage
Hebrews 12:1-3 is an inspiring passage! It needs to be, considering it follows the equally inspiring Hebrews Chapter 11.

Chapter 11 is the great teaching on the heroes of faith. Its main point is that these saints devoted their lives to God without receiving an earthly reward. In fact, many of the faith heroes were beaten, tortured, and/or martyred.

This suited them just fine as they were “seeking a country of their own. … a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:14-15). Therefore, knowing that heavenly rewards awaited, they willingly underwent whatever came their way on Earth. Their suffering was well worth it.

With this in mind, the writer of Hebrews turns to believers in Christ and says:

Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (12:1-3).

In essence, this is the blueprints of how to forge on for Christ.

Removing Obstacles
Verse 1 reminds us that “we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us.” This refers to the faith heroes of Chapter 11. They are not witnesses in that they watch what we do down here on Earth. Rather, these faith warriors are examples of persevering – of forging on – for God in the worst of earthly conditions. We should seek to do as they have done.

One way to forge on for Christ is to “rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1). Neither of these is easy, especially in these distracting, mega-multi-media times. Perhaps less attention to politics and more time devoted to Bible study and prayer will help.

Then, of course, there is the sin which “so easily” hinders us. As Christians, sin is our constant adversary. It never leaves us. However, we can fight it. Romans 6:6 tells us that in Christ we are no longer “slaves to sin.” In other words, we don’t have to succumb to sin, but can call upon God to rescue us from its vile temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13).

So, the first two ways to forge on for Christ is to reduce the ungodly distractions in our lives, and wage war against the sin that is ever assaulting us.

Our Towering Example
Verse 2 tells us to look “only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith.”

If you are receiving opposition for your faith and witness for Christ, don’t be despondent. Remember that Jesus experienced the same – and so much more. In fact, Jesus “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.”

Sometimes politicians are criticized for authorizing wars where many die, while they live in cushy homes. This is not the case with Jesus. Yes, He wants us to endure our suffering and despise our shame (ridicule for preaching Christ), but He did the same! He is not asking us to do something He Himself has not already experienced.

And don’t forget our motivation for enduring suffering and shame: the joy set before us. This joy is eternity with Christ, the same thing the faith heroes sought when they suffered for God.

So, when forging on for Christ, let us never take our eyes off of the Lord Jesus – our glorious and towering example!

Meditate on Christ’s Suffering
Verse 3 tells us to “consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (v. 3).

This admonition is similar to verse 2, but exhorts us to think about the suffering Jesus endured. Think about the scourging He received. Ponder the mocking, cursing, and spitting heaped upon Him. Contemplate the nails driven through His wrists and ankles. And reflect upon the hideous death He suffered on the cross.

In forging on for Christ, such meditations can strengthen our resolve and fire up our souls for the lost. Jesus suffered for the Gospel, and He calls upon His followers to be willing to do the same.

Forge On
Time is short. This era of human history is coming to an end, and the return of Jesus Christ is drawing near. And when it does, those who love the Lord will be saved, and those who have rejected Him will be judged and punished for eternity.

We need to tell this lost and dying world about the One who died on the cross to save them from their sins. To do so, we need to forge on for Christ. May Hebrews 12:1-3 be our blueprint for doing so, that we may reach this wretched world!