How much fight is in me?

Pat McFall


"In your struggle agains sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son?" Hebrews 12:4-5


In this first section of Ch.12 the author encourages his readers to continue in their struggle against sin, to keep fighting and struggling. He encourages them that there is a cloud of witnesses(vs1) that should encourage them to keep going, to not grow weary (vs3). This would have been a very challenging word to write to this community of believers. They had gone though tough times. They had been arrested, beaten, killed and had their homes taken from them (10:32-35). This was not a group that was insulated from hardship, they had been through the fire and were still standing. But the author knows them enough to know that some are getting tired, some are wondering if all this was worth it. Was it worth converting? Didn't we have what we needed in Moses and the Law? If more persecution is coming what are we supposed to do? The author is clear: stay strong, fight against sin, don't get tired, resist the old ways, it might cost you blood and life but if they embrace the discipline of the Lord it will produce right living and peace (vs11). He reminds them with a picture of a mountain of joy that they are ascending, where thousands of worshippers are in joyful celebration and community. That is what they have to look forward to. Don't give up.


I wonder about my own limitations quite a bit. As a father, a husband or a pastor I know that they consequences of my struggle against sin never just affect me. They have consequences that reach into the lives of those closest to me. Those consequences can reach into the lives of my children if I decide not to fight. So if dad sins in his anger my kids internalize and adapt in order to deal. Or if I sin in my speech by spouting a careless remark to my wife, it provides an opportunity for a bitter root to grow (12:15). All because I wasn't willing to fight for a better response. All because I stopped struggling to live the way that God wants me to live. There are times when I do feel like I am fighting so hard, but am I? Am I fighting to the point of shedding blood? Am I struggling so much for what I know is right that whole process may take my life? Am I pressing into Jesus and walking in my victory in Christ with that level of intensity so that I am not satisfied with roadblocks of sin in my life. Not always. More often I am prone to selfishness and complaining. This must change. As a son I want to make my dad proud. I want to know why I'm fighting so hard for freedom from sin. One reason is that it's a legacy that I leave behind. That legacy of fighting off the old life is something that will bless my children, it will protect and cover them in safety. I MUST FIGHT! I MUST ENDURE! I must do whatever it takes to allow this God, that is an all consuming fire, to consume me. I must do whatever is necessary to love my family as I should.


Jesus, I need your help. My faith is so weak at times. My resolve is so low that it feels like any wind of resistance can knock me off my feet. Take my weak 'yes' to follow you and make it something strong. Make it something that I can build my life around and show me how to build my family upon a desire to fight for the most important things in life.

Devotions for July 15

Isaiah 22,23,24
Hebrews 12

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