Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:3

Often in athletic events a good team suddenly falls behind in the score and must regroup, rediscover their commitment to win and forge ahead despite the odds. In American idioms, we call this a “gut check” – seeing if we have the courage or “the guts,” to continue even when things do not look in our favor.

In living the Christian life, we also have times when courage is called for – more than once in life we will have to measure up to a new level of challenges that will require maturity, courage, and determination to overcome the odds and opposition set against us. In fact, this will be a common occurrence in our life.

Hebrews was written to second generation Christians who lived toward the end of the Apostolic Age. For many of them, their parents had braved rejection and persecution to embrace Christianity, but would the same level of commitment be required from their children? The answer is an obvious and clear, “Yes!” Of every generation, and at every stage of life, courage to believe is required. We will not face all of the discouragement this world will dish out upon us only at one moment in life, rather at each stage of life we will face opposition from our growth in and service to Christ.

When things seem dark and we feel that our efforts are not producing the results that we would like, when the spiritual ground we seem to have gained earlier through painstaking effort seems to be eroding away, when we feel overwhelmed by unrelenting opposition, when the bevy of problems we are called to face comes in endless supply, then especially we are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, consider the opposition He faced, so that we will not lose heart.

But we should also be encouraged for we do not follow Christ only by looking at Him, it is not merely our determination that keeps us going forward, rather the overcoming Lord indwells us Himself and as we learn to lean on Him we find His strength becoming ours – a supernatural source of determination for every challenge of life.

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