“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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When reading Hebrews 11, you will see that the believers of old endured many afflictions and trials. If you slow down and consider what they went through, it can almost become an overwhelming thought that brings you to wonder, how did they make it. What these saints endured were not easy afflictions; however, none of them tainted their testimony by giving up the faith.
When I look at the present-day believer, I often wonder if we could endure such trials as the saints of old. There is no doubt that there are many believers who are enduring great trials in their lives, but to keep going through the trials that the saints of old endured is very much different from what many believers must endure today. However, how the saints of old endured their trials and afflictions is the same way you will make it when you go through your trials. Three things are very evident that kept the saints of old going when their time of affliction came that you must do if you are going to make it.
First, you must remember the cloud of witnesses who are watching you. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” When you consider that those who went before you are watching you run your race, it is a challenge to continue when you consider what they endured. It will seem very small of the believer to quit serving the LORD over the petty issues we face when you consider what the saints of old who are watching endured. You will never make it if you are not remembering the cloud of witnesses who are watching you run your race.
Second, consider what Jesus endured. Verse 3 says, “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” One of the reasons many believers become weary is because we forget what the LORD went through for us. The cross is not just a place of redemption, but it is also a place of challenge for the Christian to continue. When you stop to consider all the Saviour endured for you, it will challenge your mind to continue. Always remember that most of the battle you face as a believer will be in your mind. Considering what Jesus went through will keep your mind from being weary or fainting as you endure your hardships.
Third, stay focused on Jesus. The verse above says, “Looking unto Jesus…” The focus of the believer should always be Jesus Christ. You are bound to quit the believer’s race if you are focused on man; however, when you are focused on Jesus Christ, you will never be disappointed, and you will always have a reason to continue. Let me warn you to keep yourself from being so focused on a man or an institution that you lose focus of who you are truly serving. Always remember that a faithless life requires a man-focus, but a faith-filled life stays focused on Christ. The only thing that is going to keep you going when your trials and afflictions come your way is the focus on Christ who comforts and encourages your faith to continue. You will make it IF you stay focused on Christ.