How We Endure Suffering Part 1: Fixing Your Eyes On Jesus

Endure

I don’t have to convince you that suffering exists in our world.  Most people, even non-believers, accept that suffering is a part of life.  Some even use suffering to argue that a good God could not exist. So, how do we endure suffering in our world today?

The answer to this question may not be, “what gives us endurance?” but “Who gives us endurance?” Jesus came and endured great suffering so that we might live.  Let us look at the example of Jesus, since He endured suffering perfectly.

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We are going to look at the first couple of verses in Hebrews chapter 12.  Now the chapter before is the famous, “Hall of Faith” chapter where the author of Hebrews recalls many stories of the forefathers whose faith was tested and they endured.  Then verse 1 of chapter 12 says,

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

This life that we have is a race and we want to run it well. However, just like in a race, there are obstacles to overcome.  So, from this verse, what is the first command given that lets us know how to run well?  We are to lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us.

When suffering comes, sometimes it is from God out of discipline where He convicts of sin so that we can live in true freedom.  Other times suffering comes to build our faith, where we are to trust God in the midst, letting go of any other worldly thing we may be trusting.  Those worldly things are the encumbrances we are to lay aside.  If we are in a race, we wouldn’t want to run with 50 lb. sand bags on our shoulders.  Just so in suffering, we are stripped of anything that may be weighing down or entangling our race of faith.

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Jump to verse 2:

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus, our Savior and example, is to be our focus.  He is the Author of our faith AND the Perfecter of our faith.  Jesus didn’t just come down and live a perfect life without suffering; that would have been easy, since He was God.  Instead, He lived a perfect example in the midst of the world hating Him and gave His life up on a cross so that those who hated Him might have abundant life.  He understands our suffering and in the midst of our suffering we must remember that He sympathizes with us (Hebrews 4:15).

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Verse 3 goes on to say:

“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

It is easy to grow weary in suffering.  Our tendency is to lose heart and to give up.  We start to think that the race is impossible and that we will never be able to finish.  We don’t see the finish line and so we slow down, or even stop and pull off to the side.  Our lungs give way, our muscles cramp up and we plea for rest, comfort, or beg the medic cart to take us to the finish line.  But Jesus, our example, didn’t give up.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, look up.  Look to Jesus.  Fix your eyes on Him and nothing else.  Don’t fix your eyes on the race, other racers, or the obstacles that will come.  Fix your eyes on Jesus.  He is our prize.  He is our source of endurance.  He is our example.  Consider Him, who endured the greatest suffering.  When we see Jesus and the suffering He endured, we start to understand that our suffering is an act of joining Him in His suffering.  We say that we want to be like Jesus, but do we mean it?  He suffered, so if we are to be like Him, we will endure suffering.

 

Holly is a former intern who is passionate about God’s Word and people knowing it for themselves. As a wife and a mother her goal is to find joy and holiness in the beautiful mundane of life.

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