What I Read Today;

Hebrews 12; Acts 10; Jeremiah 17-18; Psalm 99; Judges 9-10

Have you ever set out to achieve a goal?  Something that would require a great deal of effort?

When I was in high school, my parents decided to put an addition onto our house. They drew up plans, purchased all the supplies, arranged for contractors to do work they couldn’t do, and acquired the necessary permits from the City.

Then they went to work.

My father and mother would work for months every weekend and late into the night.  They removed the old patio, ripped out the pool, and had a contractor come in and dig out the ground next to the house.  Then, they put the forms in and had a concrete company come in and pour the new foundation and walls, that would become the crawl space.  After that, they began running conduit and wiring for the new electrical service.  Slowly, the floor was laid, and the sidewalls went up.  Next, the old flat roof of the existing house was torn off and replaced with a triangle roof that extended over the new addition to the home.  New siding covered the entire house.

After all of this was completed, the work inside the house began.  Drywall and trim were hung.  New carpeting was laid.  Walls were painted.

Finally, they completed the project.  My parents had built a large master suite, where there was once a small bedroom.  They added a large dining room where our little eat-in kitchen had been.  They were focused on creating a brand new space inside of our existing little house.

My father had begun with a vision of what his house would look like.  He never took his eyes off that goal.  When he was done are small house was transformed into something new.

In Hebrews 12:1-2, we are told to spend our lives focusing on one goal.  The goal is to complete our race of faith and spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven.

So how do we do that?

We spend time focusing our lives on following and obeying God’s commands.  We work towards achieving personnel holiness.

We make a plan to grow our spiritual lives.  We deliberately look for ways to grow our faith through reading God’s Word, prayer, and Christian Fellowship.

Then we remove the things that are in our way.  Like the old worn out patio that my father ripped out, sometimes we have to rip things out of our lives that are in the way of our ultimate goal.  We need to get rid of those things that hinder us in our goal of growing closer to Jesus Christ.

Then we go to work.  Not work to make ourselves look better in Jesus’ eyes.  But we work to grow closer to Christ.  We pour the new foundations focusing on justification.  Then we move on to grow in our faith, by running the conduit, putting in our floors and sidewalls and extending the roof.  We do this through spending time in prayer, partaking of the sacrament of communion, attending worship, and bible study.

As our faith strengthens, we seek to build on that faith.  We install the sidewalls of our spiritual homes, add the paint and the carpet, and install the drapes and the siding.  We read Christian commentaries, and we seek out opportunities to serve within our faith community.

Through all the hardships and work, we continue to focus on the end goal.  We keep focusing on Jesus.  We rely on him and trust him to continue to build our faith up.  We focus all of our efforts on becoming more like Jesus so that the world comes to know who Jesus is through our actions.

That’s what the writer to the Hebrews is talking about when he says this in Hebrews 12:1-2, “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, 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.” NIV

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