The runners in a race must look ahead, towards the end of their race. And Christians must look towards Jesus. In other words, they should constantly think about Jesus.
A Christianís relationship with God begins, and ends, with Jesus. It is Jesus who shows Christians how to trust God. It is Jesus who made it possible for Christians to trust God. Jesus began their relationship with God, and he will complete it. It is Jesus who will make their relationship with God perfect (Hebrews 11:40).
Christians must continue actively to trust God during their troubles. Jesus did that too. His death on the cross was a terrible death. He died in a manner that brought much shame (Galatians 3:13). But Jesus knew that his death would bring about great joy in heaven. It would bring great joy to God the Father, because his Son had obeyed him completely. And it would bring great joy to Godís people too, because God would forgive their evil deeds.
But when Christians suffer, they should not just think about Jesusí death. They should remember where Jesus is now. He sits in the place of greatest honour in heaven. There in heaven they will join him. And there, they will share his joy. He will give them honour too, because they trust him (Hebrews 11:16).
That joy is for the future. But many Christians have described a sense of great joy now, even while they were suffering. See, for example, the Book of Philippians, which Paul wrote in prison. Perhaps those Christians felt that joy because they were not thinking about their troubles. They were thinking about Jesus.
Next part: A Christianís battle (Hebrews 12:3)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.