Make a Difference in Your Circle of Influence
Pastor Joe Miller IV
Last blog, we discussed the importance of staying faithful and being thankful for the people who went before us who endured trials and temptations. The imperfect people who exemplified keeping the faith and didn’t quit.
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. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Our ultimate example was Jesus who was the author or beginner of the faith and also the finisher or the one that completed it. He is the captain of the faith that we have today. In verse three, the Bible instructs us to consider Jesus, to observe in detail and with interest, not just admire and gain knowledge. We observe Jesus for a purpose and in this passage, we observe Him in order to endure the trials in this life.
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Jesus, by enduring the sufferings in this life, made a way to eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Which refers to the manifestation of faith as lived out by the acceptance of the gospel and aren’t we glad for that? So let’s live it, by staying faithful and not despising correction.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
The reality of it is that most trials in our life are not persecution at all, but the consequences of disobedience and sin. Most people resort to crying out ‘I can’t take it anymore, why this, God help me,' meanwhile we are most likely going through correction and the self-inflicted process of sowing and reaping - not exactly under persecution for righteousness like Jesus was. But the reason for correction has the same purpose. Hebrews 12:11 says, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
The Bible says that we are to embrace correction, rather than despise and reject it, knowing it comes from a loving Father. (v.6) Enduring the present punishment will lead to a product of righteousness and not just by our standard of righteousness, but God’s standard. Jesus is the example of this enduring and by correcting us, God is keeping His word.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
We know there is a purpose for all suffering, whether God-ordained or self-inflicted. (Hebrews 12:5) Let’s focus on the application.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
Let us ‘lift up the hands which hang down’ which means to restore that which was. The same phrase is used in Luke 13:13 where Jesus restored the crippled woman. Let’s no longer walk around with a ‘woe is me attitude’ but an attitude of ‘I am a child of the Creator, I know my Heavenly Father is conforming me into the image of His perfect Son, and perfecting me for a purpose to glorify Him.’ Let’s not go through this life with the mentality ‘I have to do this, but I get to do this.’
So don’t quit. Stay faithful. Make a difference in your circle of influence.