Daily Devotional

Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus
Hebrews 12:1–3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (ESV)

One of my favorite sports movies is “Remember the Titans” starring Denzel Washington and Will Patton. The 2000 film is based on the true events of T.C. Williams High School’s 1971 (*spoiler alert) championship football team. In the town of Alexandria, Virginia, the school board was forced to integrate an all-black school with an all-white school. While doing so, the foundation of the town’s football tradition was put to the test as black and white players had to learn to play together. While the team is on their summer retreat prior to the start of their season, Coach Boone (Washington) takes the men on a jog, and they end their run at the place where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. Where 50,000 young men fought, bled, and died the same fight they were still fighting. And in his speech, Boone challenged his players saying, “If we don’t come together, we too will be destroyed. Just like they were.”

Every time I watch that scene in the movie, I just kind of get the chills. There is just something about a truly motivational speech that in a given moment, makes you clench your fist, get back up, and shout to move forward even if you feel like giving up. The truth is that life is hard and there are times when we want to just throw in the towel, but we are encouraged and dare I say, challenged to live with endurance and perseverance. As a big sports guy, I love athletic analogies that give us clear application on how we can continue to live amid challenges with endurance. There are two major disciplines that we see from today’s text that help us endure as we move forward.

The first is we must set aside the sin that can easily trip us up. If we live with sin, we rarely endure. The image is, imagine trying to run without tying your shoes or maybe worse trying to run with them tied together; you are asking for trouble. The second and arguably most important thing is to look to Jesus. He is the champion of our faith! He is the one who endured the best. He endured the cross and the hostility of it all. And with our endurance, we should be thankful that Jesus made a way for us. The secret to walking like Jesus is living like Jesus. And one of those secrets to His endurance would appear to be the intentional time He spent retreating to pray to His Heavenly Father as often as He could. His endurance came from His discipline to commune with the Father. In our effort to look and live more like Jesus, may we continue to look to Him for endurance today and throughout the week. And may we be intentional about having our own individual mountaintop experiences where we are spending time with the Father. This is how we endure.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.