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)
Persisting toward Jesus isn't always easy. Along the way, there are hurdles, blockades, and entanglements like temptations, sin, trials, and sorrows. And yet, the author of Hebrews still calls us to persist—like the four men who carried their paralyzed friend on a mat all the way to Jesus (Luke 5:17-26)—with our gaze firmly fixed upon Christ. He knows the hindering and entangling things of this life can cause us to grow weary and lose heart. So, to fight against weariness, he encourages us to look away from everything else and attentively fix our eyes on Jesus.
Because Jesus is our ultimate example of perseverance. "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners," the author of Hebrews tells us, "so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3). He's telling us to look to the example of Jesus in the good news of the gospel. He suffered great opposition, was condemned to die a criminal's death, was scorned, shamed, and beaten, but he endured it all for our sake, to accomplish salvation for us.
Have you been weighed down lately? Is there a sin issue that has been hindering your relational joy in Christ? Is there a trial or a sorrow that has been weighing heavily on your heart? Take Hebrews 12:1-3 to heart. Look to Jesus, who endured such great opposition for our redemption, and allow his example to spiritually encourage and sustain you in this life. Lift your eyes to the One who has overcome, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father, the Maker of heaven and earth, and allow him to help you (Psalm 121:1-2). I trust that he will. And as he does, I trust that his Spirit will enable you to "throw off" every weight or sin that is hindering you.
Let's fix our eyes on Jesus together and cheer each other on as we run the marathon ahead of us. Some of us are closer to the finish line than others, but we're all on the same race, awaiting our Savior to welcome us home. In the meantime, let's persevere by looking to nothing else but the example of our wonderful Lord.