The Pioneer and Perfecter
God, help me to love you with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind and all my strength. Teach me to desire you more than I desire the things of this world. To trust you more than I trust myself. To know you deeply and personally. And to serve you with my very best. In Jesus name, Amen.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. - Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
Who is Jesus? He is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. He’s the one who starts it, and He’s the one who finishes it. We can rest in that truth. Because Jesus always finishes what He starts. He is untainted by sin and fully committed to redeeming and rescuing and restoring the world. When you find yourself overwhelmed, discouraged, and beat down, remember what He accomplished. Think about His sacrifice on the cross. And run with perseverance the race He has marked out for you.
What sins are tripping you up in your journey of following Jesus? What good things that aren’t the best things are slowing you down that you need to throw off? Who can you talk to about these things?
How was Jesus willing to endure the pain of the cross? “For the joy set before him…” What drives you to push through when life gets hard? If you don’t have something that comes to mind, ask God to help you discover a “why” that is bigger than yourself.
Find a comfortable place where you won’t be distracted. Maybe a cozy chair, a closet, or even sitting outside on a porch.
Set a timer for 5-10 minutes.
Ask God to speak to you, and sit quietly, eagerly listening for what He has to say.
Settle in by praying these words adapted from a prayer the Apostle Paul included in Ephesians:
Father God, Give me the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Fill me to the brim with all the fullness of you. In Jesus name, amen.
When you get distracted, repeat the prayer above to help you bring your attention back to God.
When the timer ends, thank God for the time you spent together and head into the rest of your day with a clearer sense of His presence.