Hebrews 12:1-2 How to Make Jesus the Leader of My Life
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, HCSB)
The witnesses are people who are have gone before us as believers. They are there to cheer us on.
The charge in these verses is to continue in the faith of Jesus Christ. Just like the previous chapter, there were many people who followed God even when it was tough. To put it another way, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going – they never quit.”
Before salvation, there are many barriers. There are personal barriers. I don’t understand. I have questions. I don’t know enough to become a Christian. There are church barriers. The culture of the church can prevent people from coming to faith. We want to witness, but our language is so confusing. We speak in a new language which most people do not understand. We even use a book which sounds like a foreign language. (This by the way, is the main reason for Bible translations. We need new translations to reach new cultures. The English language has changed so much that we need new Bibles to reach all kinds of people who speak English.)
Another barrier include spiritual barriers. The devil is out to deceive and prevent people from coming to Christ. Satan, just like Parable of the Soils says, will prevent the seed of the Gospel to take root. This happens before the seed has a chance to grow.
There are two things which prevent me from letting Jesus become leader of my life. This is why the path to salvation is a dotted line. There are gaps which prevent me from coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
The dot represents the point at which Jesus changed my life. He is the “source” of my faith. If I view my life as a journey, there is a point in time when God works in my life to point me to salvation. We see this spoken to Hebrew Christians at the beginning of the book.
“Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him.” (Hebrews 1:1–2, HCSB)
So God used the prophets to point people to Jesus. God uses the Bible to point people to their need for Jesus. God uses experiences in my life to show me that I need Jesus. God uses the difficult circumstances in my life to show that without Jesus I am hopeless and helpless. I need Jesus. Jesus is the One God used to make the universe. Jesus is the One who has the power to make salvation effective in my life. He is the “source” of my faith. He is also the “perfecter” of my faith.
What prevents me from getting perfect in my faith? I don’t let Jesus lead my life.
I have to let go of two things to let Jesus lead my life:
WEIGHT and SIN
The first thing which prevents me from following the leadership of Jesus is the weights around me. What are the “weights” that we should remove so that we might win the race? Everything that hinders our progress. They might even be “good things” in the eyes of others. A winning athlete does not choose between the good and the bad; he chooses between the better and the best.1
The sin which so easily entangles us is any sin that prevents my progress to let Jesus lead my life. Some say that this sin is unbelief. In one sense, this is try. If I don’t believe that God can do what He says in His Word, then I am not really going to grow as a Christian. The question is whether that sin of unbelief can take away that salvation. Can the sin of unbelief destroy the salvation I have in Jesus Christ?
ORBITING THE LEADERSHIP OF JESUS
I have also questioned about this very thing in my faith. Can I continue to doubt? Can I continue to struggle in my faith to the point of losing my salvation? There are five warnings in the Book of Hebrews about this very question. They are these warnings:Drifting
“We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1, HCSB)
The first thing which can happen is that you can drift. You stop coming. You prevent yourself from listening. You are starting to drift into an orbit which is farther away from Jesus.
“Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” (Hebrews 3:12–13, HCSB)
You start to depart with an unbelieving heart. However, this caused by sin’s deception. Doubt enters your mind and you stop believing what you should believe in. You need other Christians in the church to encourage you. Your orbit gets further away. You doubt because you are further away from the presence of Jesus.
“We have a great deal to say about this, and it’s difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:11–14, HCSB)
Instead of being transformed, you start to “deform.” Instead of getting more mature, you become more immature. Instead of growing and going forward, you are standing still. The further out of orbit from Jesus you get, the more deformed from the image of God you become.
“How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people.” (Hebrews 10:29–30, HCSB)
It is important to note that this warning comes after the verse which describes the importance of church fellowship. There is a reason we are called to keep meeting together.
“And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25, HCSB)
One of the purposes of meeting together is to promote love and good works and to encourage each other. Why is that? Because the further away you are out of the orbit of Jesus, the harder it becomes to truly follow Him.
One needs to understand the power of gravity. Just as the Sun has a gravitational pull on the planets in the Solar system, Jesus has a gravitational pull on my life. The planets never fling out of the orbit of the Sun. In the same way, I can never truly fall out of the gravitational pull of Jesus Christ. He still keeps me within His power. The last warning shows me just how powerful a hold Jesus has on my life.
“Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many.” (Hebrews 12:15, HCSB)
“Make sure that you do not reject the One who speaks. For if they did not escape when they rejected Him who warned them on earth, even less will we if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven.” (Hebrews 12:25, HCSB)
This orbit is the furthest orbit from the Son. In this case, we run the risk of judgment, not about salvation, but about the works that come from salvation. We have come to the point when we have become unfruitful. Jesus said that He wants us to “bear much fruit.”
““I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.” (John 15:5, HCSB)
But you can’t do much when you are so far away from Jesus. You don’t hear Him very well. You also become so bitter that you can end up doing more bad than good. You can even be a person who prevents the Gospel from doing its work. This is caused mostly by the bitterness which springs up. To put another way, and using our orbit analogy, you can end up being a “pain in the Uranus.” Jesus still saved you. However, He stops using you for His kingdom. This in itself is a judgment which comes from God.
So where are you in your faith? Are you remaining in Jesus as the center of your life? Are you out of orbit? What is preventing you from being the disciple of Jesus He wants you to be? We have a chance to reach so many people for Jesus. However, we have to let Jesus be the leader of my life and this church. May we keep our eyes on Him.
1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), Heb 12:1.