Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
It has been said that on the highway of life sometimes you are the windshield and some days you are the bug. What does that mean? Have you ever hit a bug going seventy miles an hour? Yep, it would seem better to be the windshield. Flying high on Jesus down the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) everything seems to be settled in perfect peace and out of nowhere everything seems to fall apart as unceremoniously as an insect meeting its fate on the face of an automobile. We all have days like that no matter how holy and righteous we think we are or try to be. God’s Perspective is much larger than ours and the parameters of His Love, Mercy and Grace even greater. However, human beings have small insight and vision but think that we have global impact. The truth is the more we think that we know wisdom trumps and reminds us how futile human rational and thinking really is. God is not the windshield but the human limitation of sin. It is the midst of such realization and brokenness that faith is able to grow and God refines our vision, direction and purpose culminating in one target – faith that becomes confident hope in the Lord. To many faith seems like a small thing and it is claimed daily by the church but the vivid reality is many people have no idea what faith really is because they have never made it their primary goal in life. Why do such a thing? The world is filled with many opportunities to succeed now and prosper in this life with such admirable endeavors as hard work, motivation and self-drive that allows us to achieve an education, employment building seemingly strong families and lives, why do we need faith?
Hebrews 11:5-6 (NLT)
It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God! To sum up the word impossible, it means unable to be exist or happen. Jesus died so His Blood would cover our sin enabling ordinary people to please a supernatural God. Our ability to believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit does not impact His Existence. Such belief by faith turned to confident hope allows us to encounter Almighty God and maintain a relationship with Him that benefits our life. However, one must make this a goal and the primary target in life. Enoch is recorded as the only man who did not die but rather God simply walked him into Eternity. Enoch had a seamless relationship with God and was known as a person who pleased the Lord. How do you please someone who you cannot see? You do it by faith that becomes confident hope that allows you to set your eyes on what is to come unaffected by what already is making a relationship with the Lord a reality in your life. God does not get credibility from people. He does not rely on popular opinion. Like any other race, the race of faith requires entry. Once a runner decides to participate in a race, he must decide if they are running to win. If so, they must commit their daily life with a disciplined schedule of training and preparing not for a race but a win! What is it that you desire of God today? If your sight is set on surviving, you are missing the prize of your high calling! But if you will commit your life to establishing faith that becomes confident hope, God’s Provision and Blessing will sustain you through this life but your prize will forever remain in Heaven and will be claimed on that day!
2 Timothy 2:3-7 (NLT)
Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.
Soldiers and athletes know their objective. Their commitment to this objective allows them to remain undistracted by the witnesses that surround them. Soldiers do not get tied up in civilian life. Believers who live by faith are not bound by the influence of this world. Athletes who want to win a race must follow the rules. Christian believers who want to win the race of faith must make a commitment to follow the Law of God to be citizens of heaven. To enter any country and ignore the law will convict you of treason. In a race, people who do not follow the rules are disqualified. As a believer who lives by faith and is committed to the High Calling of Jesus Christ, you must decide to live in direct opposition to sin otherwise risking disqualification. (I Corinthians 9:26-27)
This is tough sometimes because “there is a huge crowd of witnesses”. This is important because “there is a huge cloud of witnesses.” Sometimes you are going to have to ignore that “there is a huge cloud of witnesses.” Do you think the quarterback of a football team is concerned with the crowd? Not really, he is focused on getting the ball across the goal line. If not, his team will lose. What is your target in life? If it is please man, good luck with that for it is a daunting task that seldom finds fulfillment. If your objective is to please God, it is only possible by faith which requires spiritual blinders when it comes to the watching world and waiting on Almighty God! Note that when Enoch ascended into Heaven with the Lord there was no one cheering Him on! The Highway of Holiness is sometimes a lonely road but always worthwhile because it leads to the prize!
I Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NLT)
God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
It does not get any plainer than this – God has called us to live holy lives. Anyone who refuses to live apart from sin in consecration to God is rejecting Him basically saying no thank-you to His Grace, Mercy and Love. Grace is not permission to live an impure life and be pardoned. It is His Mercy that allows us to live according to His Law and be pardoned when we fall short. God knows you will fail. He understands human weakness. But God also sees the contents of your heart. He knows your intentions. This is what God uses to determine our prize. Holiness is to be dedicated and devoted to the service of God. People who live their life to satisfy their own desire are not dedicated and devoted to serving God but serving their own selfish needs which is in direct opposition to faith which is the position of trusting God and developing confident hope that what He has is to be treasured more than anything this life can produce. It is to make a heavenly investment with our mind, body, will and emotions to live a holy life committed to the Lord. The Lord is holy! The Blood of Jesus allows mankind to be holy! Ultimately it is man’s choice whether or not to live a holy life dedicated to God’s Use and Service and to live by faith in the unseen Reality of God! But Jesus provided more than His Blood. The Blood of Jesus makes us holy and in right-standing with God but His Spirit keeps us there. It is by the knowledge, instruction, guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit that we can take the Word of God and create a foundation of faith that is relevant, strong, unshakeable and immovable. When a bug meets a windshield, its life is forever changed. When man truly encounters the Love of God – he is forever changed. This is only possible by committing our life to be holy and righteous living in the Presence of God under the Blood and led by His Spirit!
2 Corinthians 5:7-10 (NLT)
For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
Do you believe that Heaven is real? Do you believe your life has eternal impact? Faith must be developed into confidence to change your life. You must be convinced that God is real, Jesus is His Son, and you are filled with His Spirit to reach Heaven. It is more than just an idea, notion or religion. Such knowledge will produce an outward change based on inward conviction. Remember as a kid when you were thinking about doing something that was wrong and you would weigh the consequences? The great what-ifs like “what if I get caught” or “what if mom finds out” and so on. It was the basis of your final decision. Peer pressure would convince you that no one would ever know or everyone is doing it. Your flesh would say “it feels good so do it.” But in the end, your final decision was made by the respect you had for your parents. Our goal as children is to please our parents. Our life goal must be to please God.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Ultimately a life cannot be changed with an altar call, but will only be permanently impacted by an encounter with the Love of God. Faith is required. Confident hope is your goal. It is the target of those who press on. Three simple steps that change everything – forget the past, decide to have the prize, and fulfill your purpose. Your entire life was created with the sole purpose of a relationship with God. All other details are insignificant. Every decision you make should be measured by its benefit to your relationship with Jesus. EVERYTHING else must be secondary! It will take dedication and consecration and yes, even brokenness. There will be times you will feel as Job that rather than aiming at the target – you have become the target. (Job16:12) Do not be distracted but press on. You are not the target but God is changing you to obtain the prize. His Purpose not to mention His Full Attention is on you. He has purposed that you will successfully walk in righteousness maintaining it by faith and confident hope that produces trusting faithfulness in the heart of every believer. Your target and object is to fulfill your High Calling in Jesus Christ. His Blood has made it possible. You must live by faith to achieve such a lofty pursuit. What are you aiming for today? If it is to live by faith, trusting God and reaching Heaven, you must believe God enough that it changes your direction, goals and motivation in life. Set your heart and mind on the Lord, make Him the Center of every endeavor and you will win the prize!
I Corinthians 14:1-3 (NLT)
Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy. For if you have the ability to speak in tongues, you will be talking only to God, since people won’t be able to understand you. You will be speaking by the power of the Spirit, but it will all be mysterious. But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.