Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed they were strangers and exiles on earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16). Hebrews chapter 11 is a very stirring account of faithful Old Testament saints. It is known by many as, “Faith’s Hall of Fame,” and “Heroes of Faith.” Each person mentioned in this chapter demonstrates the value of living by faith. At the beginning of the chapter, the writer defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1). Therefore these heroes of faith had an assurance and a conviction that sustained them as they walked with God. For some, this journey of faith was marked by great success, whereas for others, it was marked by great suffering and affliction. In either case, they all courageously followed God, regardless of the earthly outcome. In fact, the Bible says, “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises” (Heb. 11:13). This seems especially odd, given the fact that many today are teaching that God wants us to have it all now. So who’s right? Maybe it’s all just wishful thinking?
The bottom line is this: either it is true or it is not true. Either it is all wishful thinking or there is a sure and settled heavenly hope. Newsflash—it is true! As followers of Christ, we have a sure and settled heavenly hope! Therefore, we can believe God. Our faith can be patient and endure sufferings, difficulties, hardships and even death. Why? Because God has something better—“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and [it has] not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). In other words, we haven’t seen anything yet! In fact, Paul wrote to the Roman believers and said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). Why? Because, “Momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17). Therefore, our faith can be patient and endure sufferings, difficulties, hardship and even death, because it’s all momentary, meaning it will last no longer than a lifetime. Paul says it’s not the temporal that is to be our focus—that is, those things we can see—but the things which are not seen, those which are eternal.
Are you a follower of Christ? If so, then you are going to suffer. Furthermore, if the Lord tarries, you will one day die without receiving the promises. But if you will look, just off in the distance, you will see them and welcome them. Remember as believers, we are all strangers and exiles on this earth. In other words, this world is not our home—“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). As the Bible says, we “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” The best is yet to come! Living in the light of eternity is not easy in this society. Very few people, even Christian people, do that. We cling to this life with a vengeance. We do everything we can to pack this life with all the good experiences, benefits and possessions that are conceivable. It’s a curse in some ways to live in a materialistic society. I’m always reminded of a story I read once about a well-known Bible teacher in this country who flew 35 hours into Kazakhstan to do a series of meetings with seventeen hundred pastors from central Asia, gathering together for their first ever pastors’ conference in the history of central Asia. He was to teach everything about the church, everything that God had planned for the church, six straight days of teaching these seventeen-hundred people. About the third or fourth day, the leaders came to him and said, “When do we get to the good part?” He admitted this was not what he wanted to hear—after three days of intense teaching they’re still waiting for something to be good? He said, “What do you mean the good part?” They said, “The part about heaven.” Wow! Here were a people who I believe understood hope! They understood this life is only temporary and the best is yet to come! And this was not wishful thinking, but a sure and settled hope!
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
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