There will be times when you feel as if there is no one beside you that is living for Christ; and around you are unbelievers who make a mockery of your faith; in fact many times even those who profess to be believers mock you for seeking to follow Christ wholeheartedly. Don’t be discouraged. Take your eyes off of them and look to Christ. Peter says “consider Him who endured such hostility of sinners lest you be weary in well doing”. Simply put, this means don’t give up; if you think you have it bad, look at Jesus. Paul says, “Looking unto Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame”. And it is not for a lack of a better word that “endured” was used. It was something that Jesus had to go through. There was no other way. And yes it is hard; endure means to suffer hardship, tolerate pain, weather adversity, withstand obstacles; and none of those words signify that it is something pleasant. What we need to do however is keep looking at Jesus. Not only is He the Author of our faith but He is the Finisher of it as well – that He is the finisher of it should make us all feel as overcomers because we are.
I love the chorus of this song which says ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace‘. And when I sing this I see Stephen, a young man standing in front of the Sanhedrin testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ. And this verse comes to mind “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” In spite of the fact that the Sanhedrin were ready to murder him, and in fact they did by stoning him, he did not look at them and think, “I have made them angry, I better stop talking, or who knows what they will do”. Instead he turned his eyes upward and beheld that glorious sight of our Lord Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Who would doubt that at that point that the things of earth do in fact grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace?
I heard this explanation from a pastor – Jesus finished His work on the cross and SAT down at the right hand of God, yet here we have Jesus STANDING at the right hand of God. That there was Jesus giving Stephen a standing ovation.
That is pretty awesome.