“A bloody struggle against sin”
2020 “By His Blood” Lent devotion #39
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:4)
The writer of Hebrews is encouraging his readers to run the race with endurance, that is, to stay faithful in a hostile world, not getting weary or fainthearted. They can do this by looking to Jesus and never forgetting the hostility He experienced from sinners.
It was tough for some early Christian believers. When they came to faith, they suffered public embarrassment, the loss of property and prison time (Hebrews 10:33-34). But it could be worse. Faithfulness to Christ might just mean physical injury and even death.
That’s how it ended for Jesus. He was faithful to his anointing and his mission as the Christ. But he would pay for it. Big time. He would shed blood on the cross, for your sins and mine.
So sometimes faith is hard. Forgiveness is hard. Mercy is hard. Loving your neighbor is hard. Obeying God is hard. Giving a tithe is hard. Not complaining or grumbling is hard. Not being anxious is hard. Witnessing is hard.
Would it help if I told you, “It could be worse. You could have to die for your faith”? Probably not. All those things would still be hard!
It was hard for Jesus, but he focused on something different. He focused on the joy set before him rather than the shame of the cross. The journey may be hard, but the destination is worth it. That’s why you always want to focus on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. He’ll get you there.
When it’s really hard, Lord, thanks for mixing your joy into my journey. Amen.