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.