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“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:4)
Hebrews 11 is one of the most fascinating chapters in the Bible. The writer of Hebrews recounts numerous displays of faith by the men and women of the Old Testament, some which resulted in God doing miraculous things, and others that ended up in suffering or death this side of eternity but glory thereafter. The writer follows up in the beginning of chapter 12 by encouraging us that, since we are surrounded by these great examples, we should cast aside every hindrance and sin and “run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” fixing our eyes on Jesus, who endured all the way to the cross out of His love for us (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Soon after that encouragement comes this incredible verse: “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:4). I love this verse and the stark reminder it is that as I run this race of life and persevere through the trials and temptations that come my way, it is highly likely that whatever God is calling me to give up will never come close to what He was willing to give up for me. In fact, it is also highly likely that in my fear and greed and self-centeredness, I have been unwilling to give up far less. Take a moment to reflect on your own discipleship and be honest: how would you finish the following statement?
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of…
Spending daily time with God in His word and in prayer?
Coming to church to worship and be edified regularly?
Removing ungodly influences and inputs from your life?
Confessing your sins and struggles to another person?
Asking others to pray for you?
Removing the temptation from your home?
Attending a recovery or support group?
Stopping buying more things and beginning to give more of what you have away?
Adding accountability software to your devices?
Letting others tell you honestly how your sin has affected them?
Asking others for forgiveness for how your sin has hurt them?
Seeking out a mentor or counselor for guidance?
Truly believing that your life would be better if you resisted temptation?
God may never call you to a life that ends in actual martyrdom, but the call is still to take up your cross and follow Him, to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1) as you run after Him. Beloved, trust that there is nothing that you can give up that God will not replace with something better, with more of His presence and power in your life! What is a step of resistance that you can take today, that you might experience the freedom that comes from running the race without being weighed down by sin?
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