Hebrews 12:1-3(NKJV) 1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Yesterday we began to look at this section of scripture. Jesus had to go through the crucifixion to unleash the power of the Resurrection. The crucifixion was the greatest trial that anyone could face. We face our own trials in daily life. If we could learn to walk through them the same way Jesus walked through the crucifixion, it is reasonable to believe that we would also release the power of the resurrection into our circumstances.
There are three things that Jesus did on the cross. I believe if we can apply those things to whatever we may be enduring, we will see a release of power that will raise us up and out of those circumstances. Let’s look at them today.
The first thing it says is, “for the joy that was set before him.” I believe one of the keys to overcoming trials with the power of the resurrection is to focus on the victory not the trial. When we are going through pressure situations it is difficult to look past what we are feeling. However if we do not, we will hinder our faith. Jesus was in the midst of the greatest pain imaginable, and yet he focused on the joy that would come. We must do the same.
There will be an end to the trial. We must believe that and meditate on that. Whatever promise we are standing on tells us that the trial will end. As I focus on the promise and God’s faithfulness the trial does not seem so bad. Paul made a statement in Romans 8 that applies.
Romans 8:18(NKJV) 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Paul is talking about the ultimate victory, heaven, but we see the principle applied. There is a joy coming to you. I do not know how long it will take you to overcome, but I know that the Word of God is true, therefore I know you will have victory in the end. Focus on that.
Second it says that Jesus, “endured the cross.” We are not an “endurance” based society any more. We want things quickly. Everything from food to communication must be instant. However life does not always cooperate in this. Some things do not happen right away. There are some things that are going to have to be endured. They are hard. They are unpleasant, but you cannot run away from them.
Some things are just the attack of the enemy. Sometimes God is leading us through something because he knows that we will need the experience in the future. Usually we are enduring something that we created ourselves by sin or bad decisions. The cause really does not matter. The solution is the same. We must realize that there is joy coming and we endure what must be endured.
If we run away from a trial we will almost always find that we are going to face it again later. If we do not end up facing the same trial later, we will usually find that we have missed something important by not seeing the situation through to the end. God will not let you be overcome.
1 Corinthians 10:13(NKJV) 13No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
The word “temptation” here can also mean test or trial. Whatever you face will not be more than you can endure. However you must endure it. Hold on to that promise and remember the joy to come. Your victory is inevitable.
Finally Jesus “despised the shame” of the cross. Many people mistake the need to endure with making the trial a badge of honor. “I’m just sufferin’ for Jesus.”, they might say. There are some things we have to go through, but that does not mean we have to like it. The bible tells us to resist the devil and he will then flee from us. (James 4:7) Remember, it is the joy set before you that you focus on. You are fighting for that. The trial is the way to get there.
How do we “despise the shame” of our situation? If it is a sin we need to overcome we need to recognize it for what it is. It is a sin. It is unclean and it is contaminating us. Period. If we see sin as anything else we will not “despise” it enough to get rid of it.
However if it is a trial we must recognize its source. It is the devil. Even if it is something God is leading us through the agent of the trial is the devil and God is leading us to victory over him. God’s purpose is the victory not the trial. If it is something we did that brought about the trial, the power behind the trial is still the devil. Do not get mad at your husband, wife, boss, pastor or God. They are not the problem. Do get mad at and resist the devil.
We need to get aggressive where the enemy is concerned. Take the shield of faith and put it between you and the problem. Take the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, and slash out at the enemy with it. Do not passively accept your circumstance as “just the way it is.” The will of God for me is what God says it is. It is what the bible says it is. I will not accept anything less.
Jesus endured the cross. He faced it head on. He was able to do so because he was focused on the joy that victory would produce. Through it all he would not accept that this was the end. He despised the shame of the cross and the one who brought that shame. He aggressively went after him in the three days between the cross and the resurrection. He won a great victory for all mankind, but that victory was for you and me.
This week apply those same principles to your circumstances and see what God will do. The victory may not come immediately, but it will come. You may have some emotions that are not pleasant for a while, but there is a joy coming. Remember that and you will win.