Posts tagged ‘focus’

By Snakes Through Faith

First of all, that was not a typo. I want to briefly take a look at an incident the happened with the Israelites in the wilderness. God was judging them with poisonous serpents. The nation chose to repent, and God gives Moses a cure for the snake bites that is very unusual.

The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21:6-9 NASB)

One of the things I wonder is how many people rejected the solution because it was just too easy, or because it didn’t make any sense to them. Many people are that way about salvation even now. Many reject it because it can’t be that easy. There has to be something we have to do to earn salvation rather than just receiving the free gift by faith in the resurrection in baptism! Or even reason that they are not worthy of it because they have so much sin.

But what does this story really have to do with us today? It was a shadow of what Jesus would do for us so many years later. Jesus himself said so.

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. (John 3:14, 15 NASB)

Just as the serpent was lifted up for the salvation of all those who will look to Him. But why was it a serpent? In the whole Bible, the serpent represents sin, and Jesus was without sin. How could a serpent represent salvation? Here’s how:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20, 21 NASB)

When we look to Jesus, we need to see Him as the one bearing sin. Not just the sin of the world in general, but our personal sin debt. As we look at Him as our atoning sacrifice for sin, we can claim the freedom that He purchased for us from that sin. In fact, we did provide something that day at Calvary. We provided our sins for Jesus to bear for us. When He died, we died with Him so that we can be free from the power of sin.

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:4-7 NASB)

Now that the sin debt has been paid, we should continue to look to Jesus for the strength to endure. As we look upon Him and what He has done, we also look forward to the day when we, too, will be before the throne of God.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NASB)

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Lest You Become Weary

Whenever there is film of a marathon race, they like to show the participants as they get near to the end of the race. I have yet to see anyone stopping to do some shopping, or to play a quick game of basketball during the race. That doesnt happen because the runners are fully focused and what they need to do. I think that maintaining our focus is one of the reasons for our communion at the Lord’s Table every week as well. Hebrews 12 talks about things we can do when we take the bread and the fruit of the vine that will help of run with endurance.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NKJV)

First, we take encouragement from those who have run the race before us. We also build one another up as we partake of the emblems each week together. This is not something we do alone. It is, as Paul described it in 1 Corinthians 10, a communion in the body and blood of Christ.

Second, we should reflect on our lives and determine that because of our love for Christ and our gratitude for the price he paid, we will lay aside every sin that so easily ensnares us. As we remember the brutality of the suffering that He endured, we are reminded of the awfulness of our sin and resolve to turn from it, lest we be ensnared in it again.

Third, we must focus on Jesus, who is our supreme example of endurance. Think about what He went through. Think about his focus stayed on the joy at the end, when he would be able to redeem his bride and spend eternity with us in heaven. And as we consider the hostility He endured for us, it will help us to endure the trials we go through and not become discouraged and weary. He died for me; I will live for him.

Take time today to focus on Jesus and what he has done and resolve anew to never quit, but rather to run with endurance and finish well.

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