Hebrews 12:1-4, 12-15: 1 Therefore 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, 2 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin;
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;”
Last week we began a more in-depth look at the simple principles laid out for us in Hebrews, principles that can guide us in truly cleansing the roots of our spirits, not allowing them to become bitter. Bitterness leads to trouble: trouble for you and trouble for those around you. The risk goes beyond even your own spiritual casualties, which is a high enough risk to avoid. The reach of bitterness risks the spiritual casualty of those around us. Verse 15 of Hebrews chapter 12 says that such trouble can corrupt or defile others…more specifically many.
I posed the question last week: So how do we “tidy up” and rid ourselves (1 Peter 2:1) of the bitterness and unforgiveness that can rot our spirits and wreak havoc on those about us? Let’s continue our “dig” into the roots of the heart as we look back into the verse I’ve cited above from Hebrews 12.
- “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Heb 12:3) Consider again and again what it cost Jesus to purchase your salvation and the persecution so many inflicted upon Him…for your sake. You may have endured a lot in your lifetime, and you may have been done wrongly by those who said they loved you, but you’ve yet to suffer the hostility He endured. You’re worth more than all of that to Him.
- “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” (Heb 12:12-13) How do you strengthen yourself so that what God has healed does not return to its lame condition? What once was your burden must now be your platform! Therefore, “strengthen the hands, knees, feet” by conditioning them in the Word and continually finding yourself in the very presence of God. Faith comes by HEARING, and HEARING by the Word of God (Rom 10:17). Discouraged? Build your faith by hearing the Word of God…more and more and more.
- “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:” (Heb 12:14) Seek to be at peace with all people, including those whom have done you ill or whom you may have perceived to have done you ill. Whatever that takes, do it. Go to them and seek reconciliation. Pray for them and ask God to bless them. (Matt 5:44) And pursue holiness in all you say, think, and do. Holiness comes when we seek to obey His commands and become more like Him.
- “…looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;” (Heb 12:15) Embrace the grace of God for what it can evoke in your life: freedom from the power of sin. Grace does not extend to us permission to sin, but rather the ability to overcome the desire to sin. Tap into the grace of God in your own life so that others may embrace it for themselves, following your example. When God’s grace extended to someone else in your sphere of influence becomes greater than your own selfish and bitter resentments, you are well on your way to being rid of the bitterness that will defile others.
Father, I pray today for the hearts of every reader taking in this truth. It’s not new. This is age-old truth from your Word. But may this Truth resonate and be sown deeply into fertile soul within each soul, bringing forth life–not death from embittered roots of the heart. I trust you for tremendous harvest on this seed sown. Water it with Your Spirit!
In Jesus’ name,