- Pastor Ralph
(Hebrews 12:2 NIV) “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.” (NLT)
I think this past Super Bowl taught me several things about basics. Although I really did believe Kansas City was going to win, Tampa Bay, I must confess, did a better job in planning and enacting that plan. They covered the basics.
I once went to a friend of mine, when I was coaching football, to ask for advice. I asked him what I should focus on. He conveyed a story about how he was invited to a prestigious football camp in the States to help train upper level coaches. He (along with me) thought they were going to show him some fancy things to do that would give him an edge as a coach. That was farthest from the truth. What they did was remind the coaches of the fundamentals and then go over and over them, till it was clock work. The message was clear: you win on fundamentals.
I think, in a way, that is what the writer to the Hebrews is trying to convey to his listeners. He is reminding them, in the midst of their problems, in the midst of people telling them wrong information and trying to lead them astray, in the midst of their suffering, “fix their eyes on Jesus” “keeping our eyes on Jesus.” (NLT) It is a dangerous thing to take our eyes off of Him. Once we do, we do not have objective boundaries and truth. We start to act like Paul says, “children.” (Ephesians 4:14)
Jesus is the “pioneer” and “perfecter” of our faith. He initiates salvation and He takes it to the finish line as the NLT states “the champion who initiates and perfects faith.” As we study and apply His word to our lives, He helps us, in all our infirmities, develop His character in spite of our problems and challenges. Remember as Barnabas says “…the joy set before him he endured the cross.” Barnabas says “Let that truth envelope you – he endured the absolute horror, the “shame” of the cross because of the ‘joy’ awaiting Him - throughout the Eternal Ages.” Jesus reminds us to look ahead and look up!
When I face trials, I go back to the fundamentals. I go back to the Cross and all Christ did for me. I go back to the Word and the life and truth of Jesus, put in its proper context. I go back to my hope that will be realized some day in heaven and I go back to a love that we just celebrated, that radically changes my perspective. I go back to the fundamentals that help me navigate life as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Many Christians live on a spiritual roller coaster because they do not go back to the fundamentals. They are caught up in emotions and false theologies that promises riches, wealth and no problems if they just think right and say the right things. Jesus promises us spiritual victory as we live now in his power and ultimate victory as we join Him some day in Heaven. So stick with the fundamentals – the things that lay that sure foundation. "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
In His love,