One of the great resources in the Bible that we can turn to when we are in need of encouragement is the book of Hebrews. We do not know who the author is, but we do know that it was written to the early church when they felt alone and oppressed and needed words of encouragement and hope. Three things I want to share with you from Hebrews.
First of all, the author writes to the early church to remind them that they are “surrounded by a cloud of witnesses”. Each of us has a cloud of witnesses, today. These are the people who have encouraged and blessed you throughout your life. We have all been blessed with saints in our lives, people who have been there to encourage and open doors and to lead us to discover our purpose in life. It could be a parent, relative, teacher, friend or all of the above! Who’s in your cloud? Who are the witnesses, the saints in your life? When we remember these people and give thanks for their influence on our lives, it connects us to a spirit of gratitude, but also helps us to see more clearly, the people God has used to encourage us throughout our lives!
Second, the letter to the Hebrews goes on to say, “Therefore let us lay aside every weight and every sin which clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” We carry so much stress and guilt with us on a daily basis and it can be exhausting! It takes discipline to set aside the weight, to set aside the sin, to set aside the things that hold us back. Are there things that are holding you back that you could let go of? You can ask God to reveal these to you, to help you let go of the burdens you’re dragging around, so that you can move forward in life to “run the race with perseverance!”
Third, the author says, “Therefore looking to Jesus the pioneer and the perfector of our faith.” Looking to Jesus is the key phrase here. Jesus gives us a vision of who we could be. It isn’t always easy to try to rise up and be the person God is calling us to be. We focus on Jesus so that we can hear a word that calls us to be something more, that truly gives us a vision of what we could be and how we could live our lives in a more meaningful way. Jesus, the pioneer and the perfector of our faith, the one who looks into us and sees more in us than we see in ourselves.