Wednesday in the Thirty-First Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 12:12-15

Lift Your Drooping Hands

So with the Promise ahead of us, our Lord at the Father’s right hand interceding for us, and our forerunners in heaven cheering us on, the Preacher further exhorts us: “Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees.”  We have every reason to be encouraged, to set our face towards the heavenly Jerusalem, and to endure the race set before us.  But we won’t finish if we take our eyes off our Lord.

Now we must not forget that the purpose of running the race, setting our minds, enduring discipline (be it from God’s hand or our own) is so that we might remain in and grow in that holiness “without which no one will see the Lord.”  Yes, we are cleansed and set apart unto the Lord when we are born again, but holiness must still be pursued.  We must take up the cross and follow our Lord, crucify our sins and slough them off like old rags, and grow in the grace of our Lord.  We cannot run the race, we will not endure, if we have weights about ourselves.  That’s what sin is—a heavy weight.  And we will not be ready when the time comes for shedding our blood.  The word, “martyr,” in Greek simply means one who testifies, in this case with his blood.  We must become living martyrs—no, not that “martyr complex” or “victim mentality” of those who think the world owes them something; we must be people whose lives are testimonies of those who know that peace that comes of walking with God in the light, who are unafraid of letting that light shine in the dark places of the heart so that sin may be exposed and killed.  It is this mentality and practice that allows one to live with a clear conscience and struggles not with the bitterness of soul that comes with living a double life striving to do the impossible: walking with God while clinging to sin.  God will have a holy people—let that sink into your ears.

And it is this kind of hypocrisy which ultimately defiles not only the hypocrite but the church as well as bitterness spreads and corrupts those around.  So the Preacher warns: “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”  Sin is never a personal matter; it spreads like gangrene.  That is why sin is always a matter for the local church.  We need accountability, we need church discipline.  A church is not a museum of saints, but it must be in the saint-making business.  And if one of her members is struggling with bitterness, the other members must come around that one and help them seek healing and obtain the grace of God.  Strive.  Pursue.  Fight.  Soon your strivings will be over.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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