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"If God called us to a task, He will then qualify us for the job" - Jack Hyles


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" - Galatians 2:20

Cherry Stevenson.

Hebrews 12 contains the ideas of a race, faith, discipline and the fear of God.  How are these principles vital to the maturity of the Christian?

RACE – I have made a choice in life to walk with God.  Before I was a Christian I made choices rashly knowing that it did not matter if I decided to give up half way through, I really didn’t care if it affected anyone else or what they thought of me.

If I make a choice now to do something, I think about it carefully and present it to God.   I have found that if it is something that God really wants me to do, the doors and circumstances open up for me to do it.  If not, it falls away.   Therefore I am now quite tenacious and at work my two nicknames were – “blowfly” and “Jack Russell terrier.”   Why you ask?    Well once I have to achieve something I don’t let go until it’s achieved, even if it means that I keep on at others who have promised to do something so that my objective is achieved.

In the times of the Romans and Greeks, the participants in a race were determined to win, no matter what the odds; there were people watching them perform and expecting great things from them.   There was a crown to win at the end and that was their goal – for recognition of being the best, for their determination, steadfastness, endurance and tenacity.

So too the Christian has made a choice, our way of thinking and our very lifestyles ought to change.   We have picked the road, it’s a hard slog and it’s rough, but we know who is at the end of that road, who is waiting for us, who has done it before…Jesus Christ….and that is what it is all about (Heb. 12:2). If I cannot finish the race, then I must seriously consider not entering.  Why waste my time and everyone else’s?

FAITH – God has given me the gift of faith.   I have the faith to believe in the Father and because Jesus has done what He has for me, a sinner, I have the faith to run the race intended for me as ‘Cherry Stevenson.’  Christian faith is trust in the eternal God and His promises secured by Jesus.  Faith can be explained in three steps –


1.         Knowledge – knowing the Gospel

2.         Agreement – acknowledging that the Gospel is true

3.         Trust – committing myself totally to God (James, Notes on Faith and Works, Geneva Study Bible, p. 1962).

Therefore only when I read the word of God, know that He is the absolute truth and completely commit myself to Him will I really know what Christian faith is all about.  God spoke to me in 1999 and told me He wanted me to be a teacher and to go to Bible College.   After a period of waiting because I thought it was me speaking to myself, I did what He asked me.   By faith I am learning as much about His word as possible through attending College.   I do not think that I will be a teacher with high qualifications but rather God told me later He wanted me to be “steeped” in his Word.   So I walk by faith on this one and will let God direct me.

DISCIPLINE – Nothing is ever valued unless you have had to earn it, strive for it, sacrifice things to get it.   Easy come, easy go that is how it is these days.   The credit system encourages you to get into debt, so that you can have what you want immediately and pay for it later.

That is the way of the world, not the Father’s way.  Jesus is the standard by which I must live.  Whatever He had to experience while on earth, He did so that I could realise that my experiences were not unique.  He set me an example for my life.  I now belong to the Father, Jesus bought me with a high price…His life.   He knew why He came and what He had to do.  He showed me that I had to be obedient to the Father, no matter what I would have to go through.    He knew that the Father’s will was what was important as I too must realise. 

For God to use me for His purpose I have to be willing to be disciplined.  I need to submit to Him.   He can then take me, mould me, bend me, and even break me if it means that I come out the shape He wants me to be to fit into the Body of Christ.

I need to discipline myself by living by the standards set by the Father.  I need to allow myself to be disciplined by those around me if the need arises, so that I know right from wrong.  I need to set goals and objectives each day and keep the timelines so that these can be achieved and I have a direction in which to go.  There are many ways in which discipline can be described and used. 

With the Father He will chastise me because He loves me!  He is looking to my good, to make me the creature He wants me to be.

Way back in the times of the Romans, the illegitimate sons were looked after well, financially, but hardly ever chastised.  While on the other hand the legitimate son was brought up very strictly and harshly disciplined in order to be a worthwhile citizen as well as an heir to the Father (Heb. 12:8 –Notes – Geneva Study Bible, p. 1945). 

God never asks me to do anything that Jesus had not done first.  I cannot say, ‘Father it’s too hard, don’t you realise that?”  He would say “But my child, my Son went through all this for YOU!”  Even though I do not necessarily want to experience suffering, I have read many stories where people who have suffered greatly afterwards come out very changed people, with compassion and understanding and a new way of looking at things.

FEAR OF THE LORD – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 11:10).  These are powerful words.  Just because I can come before the Father, because of my precious Jesus Christ, does not mean that I can become complacent.  Christ did such a powerful thing for me, that to take God for granted for what He has done, would be truly indescribably stupid!

At all times in my daily walk, talk, thoughts, reading of His Word, worshipping, fellowshipping, I must be aware of what an awesome God He is.  He can do whatever He wants with me.  I am aghast at times when I hear people speak of Him to others about situations and how they say they speak to Him.  They make it quite funny to hear as though He is an “old-timer” and they are quite “matey” with Him.

I grew up believing that we speak to Him with reverence and come before Him in reverent fear.   After all the Father is not just your neighbour, nor your husband but He is the Creator of the Universe!  He fills your emptiness with His precious love that you have never experienced before.   He is the only one who forgives all your wrongdoings – nobody else on earth could or would do that.  

I have to remember that it is only because of Jesus Christ that I am able to come into the presence of the Father – there is nothing that I have done that would ever permit me to come into His presence.

As we mature, accepting the meat and not the milk of the teachings given to us, the above principles are very important.  “Slow and steady wins the race”  that means complete faith in knowing who the Father is, keeping a steady pace as we go through this life, not lagging behind nor running ahead, knowing the Word of God and what He expects of us; being open to receiving from Him chastisement so that He can perfect us to be the people He wants us to be, so that His will is achieved in our lives and knowing that He is Almighty God, as well as many other things to us, but always ALMIGHTY GOD, whom we must always treat with reverence.


Categories: Article, Bible Study, Devotions

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