“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
Set in the midst of some of the greatest teaching on character that we find anywhere in the scriptures, this passage focuses on the heart. Paul mentions two essential components necessary for one who is doing “all in the name of the Lord Jesus”: having the peace of God in our hearts and being thankful.
We can have the peace of God in our hearts when we operate under the authority of Jesus. The second component comes directly from the core of our character: being thankful.
Throughout the Old and the New Testaments, one of the major themes for God’s people is that they are thankful, for both physical and spiritual blessings. The emphasis, however, is on thankfulness for the abundant spiritual blessings.
The thread of our thankfulness should begin with the small courtesies extended to us by our fellow man, then proceed to our numerous material blessings, and be topped off by our gratitude to a heavenly Father who loved us so much that He gave us the ultimate sacrifice of His Son so that we can have forgiveness and go to heaven.
Second in a series of two studies from Hebrews 12
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Rather than being discouraged in the face of adversity, these Hebrew Christians should be inspired by Jesus—the writer says they should cast their eyes upon Him who not only endured the humiliation and excruciating agony of the cross but did so with joy.
An author is one who writes—that is, he originates a piece of writing. Not only did Jesus “write” Christianity but also He did everything necessary to complete God’s requirements for the Christian system. Without Him, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to come to God as Christians and be a part of His spiritual family.
So, as disappointment, and sometimes even despair, casts a shadow across our pathway, may we rise above such and fasten our eyes upon the One who paid the ultimate price so that we have a home in heaven.
First in a series of two studies from Hebrews 12
“Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Determination in the midst of adversity is the message the writer of Hebrews has for his discouraged Jewish readers in this passage—that is, those who have recently been converted to Christianity.
In an attempt to encourage them not to leave the Lord because of discouraging circumstances, the writer has just written about the faith of many great people.
With these people of faith in view, the Hebrew Christians should be encouraged to stand strong and not let any discouragement or disappointment drive them away from the Lord.
Rather they should persevere—that is, stay with the Lord—so as to be successful in running the full course of the Christian race.
“The soul of a sluggard desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich” (Proverbs 13:4).
The preacher here extols the virtue of diligence and decries the futility of slothfulness. Actually, on a practical level, he contrasts the difference between wishful thinking and hard work.
The sluggard looks at the prosperity of those around him and wants the same things, but he isn’t willing to put forth the effort to obtain them—so his desire is prosperity without exertion. The lesson is that prosperity comes only through hard work.
Scriptures in the Old and New Testaments teach against being lazy and, at the same time, specify that we are not to covet what our neighbors have; rather, we are to work to support ourselves and our families—it is made clear we are never to expect something for nothing.
The same principle holds in our spiritual lives: to be enriched spiritually, we must work at it—we must immerse ourselves in spiritual matters and really put forth an effort to be an integral part of the great Cause of Christ.