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Faith and the Cloud of Witnesses
Hebrews 12 – This is a familiar passage. It follows the chapter of faith, a chapter telling us what faith is. The substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. We see people who believed the promises of God and looked beyond the things of this earth.
As we come into chapter 12 we see the application for us. Let us also live like they lived. We see this cloud of witnesses, bearing testimony of to our lives.
Let us lay aside every weight and every sin that doth so easily beset us. There are so many things that can become distractions in our Christian life. If it is an interference to our growth and ability to contribute to the Kingdom, we need to consider whether it is something that we should “cast aside.” This isn’t always just sin things either, it can be legitimate things that take too much time/energy.
Looking to Jesus
Looking to Jesus affects our faith. He is the founder and pioneer of our Faith. He is the one who goes before us. He is the one who finishes and completes it as well.
Looking to Jesus is an inspiration to us. Through his suffering, he provided a way for each of us to come to salvation. When we compare our sufferings to those of Christ we have suffered little, by his grace we can overcome.
The Fruit of Righteousness
As we look to Jesus we need to remember that we are sons, children of the Father. What exactly is chastening? Chastening is a discipline that helps to educate the one who is being chastened.
A working definition of chastening. “Difficult experiences that will, by our right and worshipful response and the gracious work of God’s spirit will produce in us spiritual fruit, more godly character, and a stronger faith.”
Chastening can be major, but it can also be very minor.
- We are not to despise chastening or be discouraged by it.
- As we respect our human fathers, so much more we should respect our heavenly father’s chastening.
- God’s chastening always has a holy purpose.
- If we respond to God as he would have us to we will grow and we will find peace.
Some right responses to chastening.
- A prayer for help. Acknowledge God in your difficulty.
- A prayer for submission. Surrender and accept what it is, remember that God has a purpose.
- A prayer for insight. God, what would you have me to learn in this situation?
- A prayer for help in our time of need. God is ready to help, he is ready to offer grace in our time of need.
- A prayer of thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:20 – Give thanks for all things and in all things.